Oakland schools plan for in-person instruction delayed

Oakland schools won’t open for in-person learning by January 25th as originally proposed. 

In a letter, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell explained that setting a date was required, but due to worsening COVID transmission rates in Alameda County, the phased-in reopening approach won’t go forward as planned. 

“We will continue to plan because we have a duty to be as prepared as possible to resume in-person learning when the conditions are safe and in alignment with our public health guidance,” Johnson-Trammell wrote. 

The superintendent said schools will begin to reopen when the county reaches the orange tier in the state’s blueprint for reopening. Most of the state, including Alameda County, remains in the purple tier following a Thanksgiving surge in COVID. 

Johnson-Trammell said given the upcoming holidays, it’s unlikely the county would be ready to move into the orange tier by the district’s original proposed date. The county would have to reach the red tier by Jan. 4 and remain there for the state-required three weeks before it could advance to the orange tier by Jan. 25. 

The top school official said she was being realistic when she said after the winter break, a proposed starting date could be chosen, but that it would not have the certainty parents, students, and faculty are seeking. 

Read the superintendent's full letter 

OUSD will monitor how the county’s COVID cases are progressing for a more realistic approach of when in-person learning will be phased in. 

“It is important to note that under the Purple tier, while school districts can’t open facilities to new activities, anything that was already open before the county went into Purple tier can remain open,” Johnson-Trammell wrote. “In OUSD, that applies to our learning hubs for Special Education and other small cohorts who need additional support, which are currently open.” 

As students head into their winter break from Dec. 21 through 31, the superintendent reminded of COVID guidelines, including that gathering with people from outside your household is prohibited and that travel outside of the Bay Area is not recommended.