The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the closure of two Oakland classrooms as children returned to school for fall last week, raising concerns among some parents whether the highly contagious Delta version of the virus will be released as cases rise across the country. can be kept under check on campuses.
The Oakland Unified School District, which welcomed students back for the fall term August 9, closed two classes and isolated students at Montclair Elementary and Oakland High School because of the outbreak.
And cases are rising in two Brentwood school districts that were among the first Bay Area schools to reopen for the fall.
In Oakland, the district reported 16 student and staff cases at Oakland High and five cases at Montclair Elementary, resulting in one class at each school being in full-home quarantine. Oakland Unified reported a total of 58 students and 10 staff members among a total of 58 students and 10 staff members across the district on Monday after its first week. This is a small fraction of its 50,000 students in over 100 schools.
But some parents are uneasy about sending their children back as the delta version of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country.
“As the kids are going back, with the Delta version flying right now, it’s a real concern,” said a Montclair parent. “We have to think about safety and children first. I know distance learning was not perfect, but I think there is a huge risk of children getting coronavirus during in-person learning in schools. “
Oakland Unified did not immediately comment about the outbreak.
But in a notice to the families, Montclair principal Maite Barloga said she is also concerned.
“I regret to inform you that in our first week there have been several positive COVID cases in Montclair,” Barlog wrote. “While it was a beautiful week seeing the joy and smiling eyes of our students at school after such a long time, I was distracted by anxiety. We are doing everything we can to keep our entire Montclair community safe and healthy. This is a school site for us as well as new territory for our district, county, nation and the world. We all know that our kids need to come back to school and I want to make sure they are able to live in Montclair in person.
The school, she said, will start “cohorting” classes – keeping those children isolated from others – at recess and lunch starting Monday to control exposure.
Oakland Unified requires face masks for all students both in and out of state. The district also said last week that all employees would be required to be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19, which the state has since made a requirement.
Barloga urged parents not to send their children to school if they seem sick, and those potentially exposed will be contacted and told what to do. She said she would “build housing” for parents not comfortable sending their children to school.
“This virus can affect us anytime,” Barloga wrote, “and we need to do everything we can to stay aware, alert and safe.”
Check back to learn more about this developing story.