Beyond backpacks, OUSD students carry added excitement over return to school after teachers strike

Amanda del Castillo Image
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
OUSD students excited over return to school after teachers strike
"I missed my teachers, my friends, and my school," one 7-year-old girl told ABC7 News. Here's how Oakland parents and students handled the absence from school during the strike.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It's back to business for Oakland Unified School District educators Tuesday morning, as regular in-class instruction begins again.

Seven strike days and one transition day later, there is now a little more than a week left of classes on the OUSD school calendar.

Beyond their backpacks, students at Oakland's Chabot Elementary are carrying with them some added excitement.

MORE: Oakland teachers' union reaches deal with OUSD in contract negotiations; students to return

Oakland Education Association says a tentative agreement has been reached with OUSD concerning the teachers' strike, which has now been called off.

Busy morning drop-off marked the first day back to school for many teachers and students, following the teachers' strike.

"I missed my teachers, my friends, and my school," said 7-year-old Isabella, who spent those days at a solidarity school.

Her mother, Camila Burgos explained she's a single mother working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and was thrilled to learn the Oakland Education Association and OUSD found some common ground.

"I actually just told them that they have finally reached an agreement and the strike was over," Burgos said about her conversation with her young daughters. "And Isabella was like, 'I'm so excited to go back to school to see my friends,' and here we are."

For Chabot parent Clarence Hunt, his son attended school every day of demonstrations. Hunt said in the end, the teachers' strike presented an important teaching moment.

VIDEO: OUSD superintendent details tentative agreement in teachers' strike

OUSD's superintendent detailed the historic tentative agreement reached between OUSD and Oakland teachers that put an end to the teachers' strike.

"I explained to him that this particular event was a point in history that he needs to understand clearly because it affected his life in a very major way," Hunt told ABC7 News. "Even though it was one week. So, he understands now the importance of these types of actions."

And it's the understanding of past major events that helped prepare the Washington family, while away from the classroom.

"For me, in our household, we went back to the Work from Home-quarantine situation where I was the one teaching for the most part," Brian Washington shared. "Just making sure that they didn't lose what they were already doing in the classroom.

The tentative agreement reached early Monday morning between the teachers union and school district, now allowing the district's tens of thousands of students to finish strong.

"It's towards the end of school," Washington added. "There's not too much going on, but it is important for them to be in school as much as possible. So, I'm just glad all around."

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