'I just didn’t think it was going to happen on day one': Oakland schools students exposed to COVID

Many Bay Area schools started off the new year in person just last week, but already dozens of students are now back to learning at home after being exposed to COVID-19.

Two Oakland schools, Montclair Elementary and Oakland High School, had outbreaks that required entire classes to quarantine for at least 10 days. This means at least three cases were found in each class, and those cases were found to be potentially connected. 

Outbreaks like these are popping up in classrooms across the Bay Area.

"I think this is going to happen to anybody, it’s around. I just didn’t think it was going to happen on day one. It’s too quick," said Adam Cunha. 

On the first day of school, Cunha’s daughter was exposed to COVID in her 4th grade classroom at Montclair Elementary in Oakland. 

"After that it’s been the same, she was exposed on Thursday, she was exposed on Friday. She was put on modified quarantine and then Sunday night they let us know it was full Zoom class for the next few weeks," said Cunha. 

He said although his daughter is used to learning at home after doing it for the last year, this is still hard for her. 

"She’s a little crushed. She really liked being back and seeing her friends," said Cunha. 

This is the reality of heading back to school with the delta variant still rapidly spreading. It’s a reality Montclair parent Cielo Fisher prepared her kindergartener for. 

"I’m a little bit more on the side of safety. I don’t mind if we get put in quarantine and if we have to do it for the safety of the kids its ok with me," said Fisher. 

Montclair has seen close to one new case each day since starting school August 9. Fisher said the school did the best it could to plan for this, but the cases could’ve been found quicker. 

"For me, the only better way to handle it is to add forced testing for all the student body," said Fisher. 

She has been voluntarily testing her family each week, and signed a petition to ask the school to make regular testing mandatory for all students. 

A representative with the Oakland Unified School District said it's hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. 

While Montclair's 4th graders are using Zoom, not all students who need to be quarantined will have access to a teacher in real-time. Some students will get packets of work to take home. Some school districts are also choosing to enforce al longer quarantine.