Coronavirus & education: Oakland school district, teachers, parents deal with distance learning for children

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Distance learning for students has been a greater challenge than first envisioned. Some school districts are just now starting, others are still negotiating with the teachers' union to set parameters and expectations. Meanwhile, parents are concerned their kids are falling behind.

At Global Family Elementary in Oakland, parents came to pick up learning packs and the much needed laptops for their children.

The hope is that this coming Monday, most, not all, will be interacting online.

Parents like Chenille Hives say distance learning got off to a rough start.

RELATED: Coronavirus & education: SF students receive laptops, but many still need internet for distance learning

"I do think it was a little slow getting the kids set up to do the distance learning, but I do understand they needed time to get the teachers together," said Chenille Hives, an Oakland resident and parent.

For starters, the teachers union in Oakland had to spend time negotiating new rules and parameters for its members.

While Oakland teachers have reached an agreement with the district, San Francisco Unified is still negotiating with its teachers. Therefore, San Francisco students still don't know when their online classes will formally begin.

But teachers like Olivia Udovic of Oakland have gotten creative. She assigns work for her kindergartners through her YouTube channel. We also asked her to take pictures of her communicating live through Zoom with her students.
As part of their agreement with the district, Oakland teachers will have a maximum of two hours of direct online instruction plus two hours of flex time to prepare.

RELATED: Coronavirus impact: With schools closed, Oakland Unified has no date for students to begin digital learning

While some parents would like longer hours, teachers say it's enough screen time.

"In a normal class day, I'm not giving six hours of direct instruction, I'm giving a 10 minute direct instruction lesson, and then we're doing a 30 minute independent activity," said Udovic

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