OUSD students in solidarity with teachers calling for more COVID protection

A sickout by Oakland students and teachers caused nine schools to close for the day on Thursday.

Many other schools were open, but very few students showed up.

"Most classes only have like five to six people in it. So it's like a lot of people missing," said Oakland Tech High School student Samaya Riley.

The students who organized the action are demanding KN95 masks, and more COVID testing availability.

"It's nice to see a lot of people supporting the cause and trying to make sure students are adequately prepared and just feel comfortable on campus," said student Emine Uysal.

The Oakland Unified School District denounced the sickout.

"We want our students in class. We want our teachers in class. This is an unauthorized sickout by the teachers" said district spokesman John Sasaki.

The district says it has received 200,000 KN95 masks and is in the process of distributing them.

"The work that has been done is because of the advocacy of our students and teachers that masks are being delivered," said Keith Brown, President of the Oakland Educators Association, which is the teachers' union.

The sickout comes on the heels of a recent agreement between the teachers union and the district.
Under the terms, Friday now will be what the district is calling a "teacher wellness day" and will not be used for staff development, which had been previously planned.

"We encourage the OUSD community to use January 14th to get vaccinated or get booster shots because they are important health measures to keep our community safe," said Brown.

The district says it expects students and teachers to return to class Tuesday following MLK Day Monday.
But a student petition circulating online is calling for another sickout next week.