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Omicron Surge: Oakland Charter School Closes For Week Because Of Teacher Shortage

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Officials at the Oakland School for the Arts announced Tuesday they were cancelling classes for the remainder of the week because a shortage of teachers caused by positive COVID cases and quarantines in the wake of exposure to the virus.

Principal Mike Oz posted a letter to students and parents apologizing for the charter school's emergency closure, but said he had no choice given the growing number of cases during the omicron surge.

"Due to a staff shortage as a result of quarantines due to exposure to, or infection with, COVID-19, we regret to inform you that we are unable to continue to provide person-to-person instruction to students and need to institute an emergency school closure for the remainder of this week," he wrote. "We have exhausted all options for obtaining staff coverage."

Students had already arrived on campus when the decision was made to send them home.

"We are not permitted to offer distance learning as we did last year due to changes in state law, but all teachers will be posting self guided work on Google classroom for students to complete during this emergency school closure," Oz wrote. "Students are being notified of this closure and will be instructed to bring home all necessary materials."

Oz said the administration plans on a return to campus on Tuesday, January 18th.

"Please understand, this is a fluid situation, and these plans may change," he wrote. "We will keep you informed of our progress in addressing the temporary staffing shortage."

Oakland School for the Arts wasn't the only Bay Area school that has shutdown in-class instruction this week.

The Hayward Unified returned to remote learning this week amid the omicron surge. The district voted to stay remote for a week in the face of 500 students testing positive and a shortage of teachers to helm classes.

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