Coronavirus: Bay Area parents, teachers react to California's new school reopening plan

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a new reopening framework for schools during his Wednesday address, setting a target for mid-February for some schools.

How to safely reopen schools as the state continues to manage the COVID-19 pandemic has been fraught with conflict.

"Of course it's not perfect. Of course we all wish we could be back. But for right now, it's okay," said Katie Castle, the parent of a second grader in Piedmont Unified.

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While there has been pressure on the district to reopen, she says she's actually not eager to send her child back to school anytime soon.

"I am coming at it from a perspective of having a daughter who's been very successful at online learning," said Castle.

But access to distance learning has varied widely, especially in Oakland Unified School District, where Janene Wendrick works as a second grade teacher.

"I still have students that are not logging in at the times they are supposed to log in," said Wendrick. "I believe they will behind in reading, writing and math."

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She says, while many teachers want a vaccine before going back, she felt satisfied with the governor's new reopening framework.

"I'm okay with going back as soon as possible," she said. "I do like how the governor is proposing having masks for both students and staff. I like how they are going to have testing available."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says the district has not yet reached an agreement with teachers unions on reopening, but echoed the need for a return as soon as February.

"I want these kids back in school, it is not just important for the children's education, but parental sanity, and our economy. All these things need our kids to be back in school," said Schaaf on ABC7's Midday Live.

In a statement from Oakland Unified, a spokesperson told ABC7, "We look forward to closely reviewing Administration plans to provide for a safe and responsible reopening and plan to fully participate in the upcoming Legislative review."

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