Oakland, Calif. — Following a planned “sick-out” on Friday where more than 500 teachers across the Oakland Unified School District called out of work sick, hundreds of students within the district have come together in an online petition demanding increased COVID-19 protocols or else they’ll strike.
Students at schools in Oakland Unified School District are now demanding increased COVID-19 protocols and supplies.
If their demands are not met, they plan to boycott showing up for in-person classes.
“We are demanding KN95 masks for all of the students because they’re not easily accessible to them, twice a week PCR and rapid tests for everyone on campus and more outdoor spaces to eat safely when it rains or if the district doesn’t want to give this to us, we demand a shift to online learning,” said Ayleen Serrano who a 10th grader at MetWest High School in Oakland.
Serrano is one of the organizers of this online petition that’s now gathered nearly 300 student signatures.
Serrano says she and her classmates began the petition after seeing increased COVID cases and a lack of available testing and resources.
Serrano says they’re sending this public petition to district leaders on Monday.
If their demands are not met by Monday the 17th, the students will not attend in-person classes for the remainder of that week until a planned strike outside the district’s office building on Friday the 21st.
The student petition follows a planned teacher “Sick out” on Friday where more than 500 teachers called out of work sick over similar concerns of rising cases and insufficient masks and available testing.
As a result, classes at 12 schools in the district were canceled.
In addition to some teachers not showing up to work over safety concerns, Serrano says some of her classmates have chosen to do the same and stay at home.
OUSD communications director, John Sasaki told KRON4 news in a statement on Sunday:
“The district is aware of a petition that some OUSD students are circulating. We share the students’ concern about the spike in omicron cases of covid-19. That concern is why we have distributed KN-95 and N-95 masks to all staff. We have also ordered enough KN-95 masks for all students. They will be distributed to students as soon as they are delivered. We have had the supplies for new covered eating spaces at dozens of schools, including new tables and shade structures, on order since, in some cases, last summer. Supply line issues have slowed their delivery significantly…We are already meeting, or are in the process of meeting, most of the demands noted in this petition. And we will continue to work towards fulfilling the rest in the coming weeks. “