Oakland public schools prepared to reopen, even as COVID variant surges

With Oakland public schools set to reopen Monday, Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell says the school district is prepared, even as cases of the delta variant continue growing.

"Part of the preparation is being prepared for uncertainty. All of our protocols and processes are in alignment with our county guidance and state guidance," she says.

That means students, teachers, and staff must wear masks indoors. Teachers will be tested for COVID at least every two weeks, more if necessary.

But Oakland is not making vaccinations mandatory.

"I imagine there may be some changes with county guidelines and state guidelines. And when that happens we will take those protections we have in place and refine them," Trammell said.

Trammell helped inaugurate the completion of the massive makeover of Fremont High School in East Oakland. The project took seven years to complete.

Nidya Baez, the assistant principal at Fremont recalled being a student there.

"Frankly, most of my peers regarded the school as a prison. There were chain link fences. Our sweatshirts said "sentence completed" when I graduated in 2003," said Baez.

A school many people in the community say had often been neglected, Fremont High now has a new academic building with state-of-the-art science labs and career and technical education labs for multimedia, broadcasting, and architecture.

It also has a contraction program along with a new football field and a gymnasium complex with a wellness center that includes medical and dental facilities.

Some students came by to have a look.

"It's more spacious. I feel safer," said incoming senior Allana Primous.

"Every child deserves the best facility. We should not see differences between what we see in private schools or suburban campuses and what we see right here," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.