A rare look inside an Oakland high school as teachers, some students adjust to in-person learning

ByJuan Carlos Guerrero KGO logo
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Episode 6: A step towards normalcy
Teachers head back to the classroom and get an unexpected lesson on the realities of hybrid learning when some students return to campus. The football team plays its first game but fans are not immediately welcome in the stands.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- To watch the entire series MACK: A pandemic school story, check out our ABC7 Bay Area streaming apps on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.

Eight months after she signed on to her first class as a high school student, Clarissa Blincoe was finally able to attend classes in person at McClymonds High School in Oakland.

As a freshman student, Blincoe had not been inside the school before she showed up on campus last week.

"I asked to come here because I felt that I was struggling with my classes," said Blincoe who requested to return to in-person classes.

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Last Wednesday was the first time students in Oakland public schools could return to in-person learning, nine months after the start of the school year and just five weeks before the school year ends.

Even though some students are returning, the school will not operate like it did in previous years. Instead of going from classroom to classroom, students will stay in one room for the entire day and attend their classes on Zoom with one teacher overseeing their work.

"You will get the opportunity to get support from that one teacher where you are struggling to build up your grades," said principal Jeffrey Taylor.

For Blincoe, that was computer science. She was one of two students in Jerry Bailey's computer science class.

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"You have been looking at black screens the entire year. I finally get to see their faces and learn more about them," said Bailey.

Only students deemed priority are allowed to return, which includes foster youth, homeless students, English language learners and students who are struggling academically.

Oakland Unified hopes to return to normal instruction in the fall.

"Everyone is looking forward to that. It's time for the kids to be back in school," said Taylor.