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COVID: Parents, Board Members Meet To Plan Safely Reopening Oakland Schools

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- Under California's COVID-19 restrictions, schools may reopen once the county they operate in is under the red tier. But while some Bay Area schools have welcomed back students, others aren't ready to take that step just yet.

"We are in a pandemic, and there are no good solutions," said Oakland Unified School District Board Member Mike Hutchinson.

OUSD is recommending that students return to the classroom when Alameda County is in the orange tier. Hutchinson said Oakland currently has more COVID-19 cases than any other city in the county.

School board members held a virtual meeting with parents on Monday night to ask for their input on how to get students back to campus safely once full in-person learning is reinstated. The meeting is one of several that board members plan to hold with parents and the community.

Meanwhile, Monday marked an important day for students in the Los Gatos Unified School District. Kindergarten through second graders were allowed on campus, which opened up for the first time in almost a year. The district implemented a COVID-19 safety plan that included temperature checks, designated entrances, social distancing markers and staggered start times.

Third to fifth graders will head back to the classroom next week.

"It is very, very awesome to get the kids back, and they are so excited," said Simon Lam who is a grandparent to a student at Blossom Hill Elementary.

Feb. 1 was initially the deadline that Gov. Gavin Newsom gave school districts to submit COVID-19 safety plans. He offered more funding to districts that met the criteria. Newsom wanted all students to return to school by mid-February.

But the California Teachers Association pushed back, and argued that all teachers should be vaccinated first.

"I don't think we'll be able to get back to in-person schooling in this school year, but I am still hopeful that if the rates drop that we will be able to," Hutchinson said.

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