Coronavirus: Oakland Unified closes schools for 3 weeks amid COVID-19 fears

ByLauren Martinez KGO logo
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Oakland Unified schools to close for 3 weeks amid COVID-19 fears
The Oakland Unified School District announced its closure of public schools to prevent the further spread and transmission of COVID-19.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Effective at 6 p.m. on Friday evening, all schools and child development centers within the Oakland Unified School District will be closed through April 5 due to coronavirus concerns.

The closures will begin March 16, and include Saturday school and extracurricular activities.

Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trummell wrote a letter to district families you can view here.

She said all OUSD employees will continue to work and be paid.

"During this time our staff will use work time over the next couple of weeks to plan, prepare and train on how to operate schools during this pandemic," Trummell said.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: School, university closures related to COVID-19 in San Francisco Bay Area

She said this is a fluid situation. "Within the last hour, the Alameda County Public Health Dept. confirmed four new cases of COVID-19. Two of the four cases are the first community acquired transmission in Alameda County," Trummell said.

OUSD officials said it is imperative students stay home and limit their social time.

"It is extremely important that students should stay home and minimize social contact as much as possible to keep themselves and their adult family members safe," Trummell said.

Oakland Unified's Chief Systems and Services Officer Preston Thomas talked the access to food every student will have that is 18-years-old or younger.

"Our nutritional services department will be open at 12 sites throughout the city where "grab and go" breakfast and lunch will be available to students," Thomas said.

RELATED: Coronavirus in California: Get resources and information about COVID-19

71%, or 3 out of every 4 students in the district rely on free or discounted lunches. Now, student will be able to get multiple days worth of food on Mondays and Thursdays in attempt to minimize the amount of social contact students will have.

  • Monday: 8:00-12:00 (3 breakfasts/3 lunches per student)
  • Thursday: 8:00-12:00 (2 breakfasts/2 lunches per student)
  • Food is available to any child under 18.
  • Please bring a grocery bag or cooler to bring food home for the week.
  • Northwest/West Oakland: Sankofa Elementary, West Oakland Middle School and Hoover Elementary
  • Central Oakland: Oakland High School and Garfield Elementary
  • East Oakland: Bret Harte Middle School, Life Academy/United for Success, Coliseum College Preparatory Academy, Madison Park Upper, Fremont High School, Castlemont High School and Elmhurst United Middle School
  • RELATED: Coronavirus concerns: Oakland declares state of emergency, bans mass gatherings

    During the closure, each school will be deep cleaned.

    School officials hope to resume instruction on Monday, April 6.

    Aside from school closures, Mayor Libby Schaaf made a big announcement regarding the city.

    "We also will be closing our senior centers, our libraries, our recreations centers and our head start beginning on Monday," Schaaf said.

    City leaders feel these decisions are what's best for the health of Oakland families.

    "This is the right thing to do. We have an opportunity to prevent human suffering," Schaaf said.

    RELATED: East Bay schools increase campus cleaning, other safety protocols as threat of coronavirus grows

    Go here for the latest news, information and videos about the coronavirus.