Oakland Trainer Sickout Requires Extra COVID Security, Closes 12 Colleges – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (KPIX) – A planned sick leave for teachers in Oakland closed a dozen schools in the East Bay district on Friday, Oakland Unified officials said.

An OUSD spokesman said 503 teachers called in sick Friday morning, a rate about 2.5 times higher than a normal day. The absenteeism led to the closure of 12 schools. Nine grammar schools, two middle schools and one elementary school were “out of order” due to a lack of staff.

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Officials later made it clear that the closed schools were Garfield Elementary School, West Oakland Middle School, United for Success Academy, Madison Park Academy Secondary, Coliseum College Prep Academy, Life Academy, Fremont High School, Oakland Technical High School, Skyline High School, MetWest, Oakland International High School, and Ralph J. Bunche High School.

Educators with signs on their cars drove past Oakland Unified headquarters Friday morning protesting in a caravan as part of the infirmary.

“I am strengthened. I am not worried about myself. I’m worried about my two-year-old son, ”said Tamara Henry, Garfield elementary school teacher.

“I agree that the best learning takes place in school. But right now I don’t feel safe at work, ”said Carrie Landheer, another Garfield teacher.

Teachers told KPIX that many of their colleagues and students are infected with COVID. They don’t think the district is doing enough to protect them from the Omicron variant.

“It’s so painful and it doesn’t seem like anyone cares. It’s like we’re being handed over to the wolves to fend for ourselves, ”said Jaelynn Wilson, librarian at Coliseum College Prep Academy.

“It’s very frustrating that it has to come to this. Of course, we all have great lesson plans for school. And we want to be there. We love our children, ”said Kiana Pineda, another teacher at Garfield Elementary.

The district warned parents Thursday that some teachers could potentially host an “illegal sick leave” as school districts across the Bay Area face staff shortages during the COVID-19 omicron surge.

“We have to be clear: this action – whatever schools it takes place – is likely to disrupt basic operations and teaching significantly and have a negative impact on the safety of students,” said a statement from the district on Thursday.

The district sent home rapid tests before the winter break. More than 900 students and employees have tested positive for COVID.

The district has posted information about its COVID-19 logs on the OUSD website.

The educators urge the district to implement a number of security measures.

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Demands include the provision of KN95 masks for all employees and students, weekly PCR tests for all students and employees, and two weeks of distance learning in order to have time to implement these measures.

“We hope our requests will be met as soon as possible so that we can be back at school with our students,” said Natalie Canellas, Garfield elementary school teacher.

John Sasaki, Unified Director of Communications at Oakland, said KN95 masks for staff were delivered Thursday night and masks for children were on the way.

When asked if he knew when the masks for the students would arrive, he replied, “When they are here.”

As for educators’ two weeks of virtual learning, Sasaki said the district is not planning any major school closings.

“We have no plans to close schools,” said Sasaki. “The bottom line is that this is not safe for our students.”

District officials believed the sick leave was unnecessary and disruptive to families.

“When you do this, you create problems for our families and potentially more dangerous circumstances for our children,” said Sasaki.

Teachers also called for an extension of COVID sick leave and the installation of HEPA filters in canteens and other large spaces. Teachers also want the changes to have no impact on school budgets.

On Thursday night, the district and the teachers’ union tentatively agreed on a COVID vacation policy.

The school district has 80 schools. About 8,400 students were affected by the failures.

District officials said they believe the sick leave was a one-day protest and things will be back to normal on Monday.

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Da Lin contributed to this story.

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