Some of the youngest learners in the Oakland Unified School District were scheduled to return to in-person learning Tuesday, and for some, it's their first time setting foot in a classroom.
Oakland Unified welcomed back some Pre-K through second grade students but not quite as man as initially planned. The district says it has worked to make changes so the buildings are safer, with updated HVAC systems and portable air purifiers. Also, personal protective equipment and social distancing protocols will be in place.
"I can speak for Garfield staff and say we are excited to return. We miss our students, we miss our families, and we are looking forward to a safe return," Garfield Elementary Principal Alicia Arenas said.
By April 19, the district will bring back more students in grades PK-6 as well as priority students in grades 7-12 who have opted for in-person instruction.
Despite an agreement between the district and the teachers’ union to reopen schools Tuesday, only 33% of teachers said they were ready to return to the classroom, according to the district.
This district's reopening comes at a critical time, just one day before the deadline set by Gov. Gavin Newsom for districts to potentially receive funding set aside by Assembly Bill 86. School districts that reopen before the end of March are eligible to receive a portion of the $6.6 billion fund.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, it appears the school district will not meet that end of the month deadline to receive those funds.