Some Oakland Unified students returning to school on Tuesday

After more than a year of distance learning, Oakland Unified School District will begin welcoming students back on campus on March 30.

Video Transcript

- On Tuesday, most Oakland Unified schools will welcome back students, but not every campus will reopen. As ABC 7 News reporter Matt Boone explains, only 1/3 of teachers have volunteered to come back by next week.

MATT BOONE: The playground at Cleveland Elementary in Oakland has not seen much use lately.

DAGIM GEDLE: I want to go back in person because I miss my friends going face to face, and like playing outside.

MATT BOONE: Dagim Gedle came to play soccer with some friends, desperate to get outside.

DAGIM GEDLE: I was like saying, oh, this is going to be the best year. And then when it turned out to be COVID, I was like this is the worst year.

MATT BOONE: The fact that the pandemic is still ongoing is not lost on them, including his younger sister, Gelila.

GELILA GEDLE: I'm worried about corona and that stuff, but I'm excited for school since it's opening.

MATT BOONE: Their school will be one of six elementary campuses not reopening for pre-K through second grade on Tuesday, because not enough teachers volunteered to come back by then.

TIMOTHY DOUGLAS: There are classrooms with windows that don't open. That there are resource teachers who are in an actual closet who are in parts of a hallway. So there are spaces that are not safe.

MATT BOONE: That's Timothy Douglas, a fifth grade teacher at the International Community School. He says vaccination rates were also a big sticking point for returning, not just for teachers, but for their families and communities.

TIMOTHY DOUGLAS: This is still happening in very real time. My pregnant wife just got an appointment yesterday for April 15, and we go back on April 19.

MATT BOONE: But the continued delays have frustrated some parents.

MEGAN BACIGALUPI: Well, my kids are fortunate they're going back. There are a lot of kids that are not.

MATT BOONE: Megan Bacigalupi has two students in the district, and has been pushing for kids to return. She was disappointed that most students will still have to wait until mid-April. And even then, only for five in-person hours a week.

MEGAN BACIGALUPI: A lot of districts around us are just offering so much more in-person learning. I mean, my kids are going to get 40 hours total for this entire school year.

MATT BOONE: In Oakland, Matt Boone, ABC 7 News.