Sickout planned in Oakland as students go back to in-person learning in Hayward

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Big changes happening in two Bay Area school districts Tuesday.

We start in the Oakland Unified School District where many students and teachers have planned a sickout in Oakland as a way to protest Covid safety measures in schools.

A few Oakland schools will participate in the student sickout expected to last through the week. The idea is to bring attention to their safety demands as the omicron surge continues.

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A few Oakland schools will participate in a student sickout expected to last through the week.



"It's important for me to participate in this walkout because the walkout is trying to help schools become safe for the kids who attend," said student Alexander Ibarra who attends Coliseum College Prep Academy.

Some teachers will join students in a show of support. Some teachers say the fears are real around what they could be bringing to the classroom but also what they could be taking home.

"I don't currently feel safe I don't feel like my colleagues or my students are safe. The students and the teachers have been demanding kn95 and n95 masks." said Sarah Vogelstein, who is an instructor in the Oakland Unified School District.

Something that Oakland Unified says has been distributed to all instructors. They say 200,000 KN95 masks are currently being given out to students.

Additionally, students want two tests offered per week and more outdoor space to eat when it rains.

The school district delivered KN95 masks to schools last Thursday, and insist that classrooms are safe because of all the safety measures in place in accordance with the Alameda County Health Department.

RELATED: East Bay parents, teachers upset over handling of omicron surge but in-person learning continues

In Hayward the opposite, kids and teachers going back to class after they went virtual for a week.

"We'll be out there tomorrow! Excited to have students back because we know it's challenging when they're out of school," says Dionicia Ramos who represents the Hayward Unified District.

The district goes back to in-person learning Tuesday after a week of virtual learning. A move was made after 700 students and 112 teachers tested positive for Covid their first week back from break.

"Our closure was not related to the number of student cases, our closure was really how overwhelmed our testing sites became and our staffing shortage," says Ramos.

Dionicia Ramos says Hayward Unified had 81 classrooms without main teachers when the decision to go virtual was made. As of late Monday night, 33 classrooms are in that category and will now have substitutes or administrators. Covid tests have also been given to all staff and sent out to all students.

Oakland Unified sent out this statement Monday night:
"The District is aware of a petition that some OUSD students are circulating. We share the students' concern about the spike in omicron cases of COVID-19. That concern is why we have distributed KN-95 and N-95 masks to all staff. We have also received 200,000 KN-95 masks for all students. They are being distributed now. We have had the supplies for new covered eating spaces at dozens of schools, including new tables and shade structures, on order since, in some cases, last summer. Supply line issues have slowed their delivery significantly. Where deliveries have been made, our staff is already installing these structures at schools, and this process will continue as we receive more of the supplies. As far as testing goes, like we have been doing since last year, we have testing available to students at ten hubs across the District. We are also doing weekly pooled testing at elementary schools, and have bi-weekly drop-in testing for our secondary schools. We are already meeting, or are in the process of meeting, most of the demands noted in this petition. And we will continue to work towards fulfilling the rest in the coming weeks. The best thing that all students can do to protect themselves is to get vaccinated and boosted. We are offering vaccine pop-ups at multiple locations this month (as we did in November and December). We thank our students for staying in front of these issues and bringing their concerns to District leadership. We will continue to follow the guidance from local, state, and federal COVID safety guidelines."

A few Oakland schools will participate in a student sickout expected to last through the week. The idea is to bring attention to their safety demands as the omicron surge continues.

"It's important for me to participate in this walkout because the walkout is trying to help schools become safe for the kids who attend," said student Alexander Ibarra who attends Coliseum College Prep Academy.

RELATED: East Bay parents, teachers upset over handling of omicron surge but in-person learning continues

Some teachers will join students in a show of support. Some teachers say the fears are real around what they could be bringing to the classroom but also what they could be taking home.

The school district delivered KN95 masks to schools last Thursday, and insist that classrooms are safe because of all the safety measures in place in accordance with the Alameda County Health Department.

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