OUSD, teachers' union reach deal on COVID safety plan to avoid strike

The Oakland Unified School District announced on Tuesday that it hammered out an agreement with the teachers' union to resolve differences surrounding COVID safety protocols after days of negotiations. 

The deal comes on the cusp of a strike by teachers frustrated with the district over insufficient testing, lack of high-quality face masks, and not enough outdoor spaces for students to eat.

Under the new deal, the district has agreed to provide weekly testing for all students and staff. The district said it will expand evening testing hub hours. Additionally, the district will provide school sites with adequate covered eating spaces for students to enjoy lunch outdoors.

Before the deal was reached, Keith Brown, president of the Oakland Education Association, said the district showed signs that it would meet teachers' demands for later testing hub hours, as most only operate during school hours.

"Closing testing hubs at 4 p.m. did not accommodate their needs as working families, so the district has indicated a willingness to work to extend the hours," said Brown.

Board members for the teachers' union are expected to vote on the tentative agreeing in the coming days. Then the Board of Education will vote to ratify the agreement. 

Negotiations between the union and the Oakland Unified School District lasted for three days, the district said. One bargaining session lasted 13 hours before coming to a rest Saturday at 5 a.m.