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COVID-19: Reopening Schools, Vaccines, How it Started & More

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Source: Google and Canva

By Press Club on March 5th, 2021


The Press Club wrote about 4 different topics surrounding COVID-19. We talk about schools reopening, vaccines, how it started, and a COVID-19 campaign in OUSD.

//Reopening Schools by Alexis Ayala-Alvarado //

Conversations about reopening schools have been in the air since November 2020 for OUSD. Many parents are worried about their children returning to school because there are not enough precautions that are going to happen when being in person. With so much tension between everyone about if whether or not schools should reopen has been one of the controversial talks. I have heard many students that don’t feel ready to come back because there isn’t enough PPE in schools when we were in person, what makes everybody think OUSD will have PPE in schools now! When we were in person there wasn’t any soap, hot water, toilet paper, and the hand dryers would not work sometimes. As well, I believe many students won’t take precautions in wearing a mask. Many will think COVID-19 does not exist and might take it as a joke. My feelings about reopening have been all over the place. For me, I feel reopening schools we need at least 75% or more of our population to be vaccinated to have fewer cases. Until we don’t have that I feel as a student we should not have schools reopen until there is a clear idea about reopening.

In our CCPA community 94621, COVID-19 cases have been increasing by being in the range from 10205.7 to 12781.8 per 100,000 people since March 4. These conditions about our community suffering and still wanting to reopen schools are unacceptable. Meanwhile, many families, educators, and even students have had COVID-19, so this should make OUSD make a reopening plan that has the conditions that should be necessary for everybody.

In All City Council, we had a Middle School Meeting on February 25, 2021. We focused more on next year’s learning style like semester, quarter, minister, and as well on how youth feel about reopening schools. Many youths are not ready to go to school because of schools not being clean, living with a family that has health conditions, or the idea of not having enough mental help. One of our school board directors told us that OUSD has only been talking about schools reopening for grades TK-fifth grade but not Middle or High schools. Many students are going to feel ready only when we have enough custodians and enough PPE for everyone. We demand OUSD to listen and talk to the public about reopening schools so we won’t have more deaths in the Black, Indengoius, and People of Color Communities.

//What you Should Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine by Stephany Casillas//

There has been a lot of controversy over the COVID-19 vaccine. Many are skeptical about taking it because they believe there isn’t enough research done but others are willing to take it. However, having as many people take the vaccine is crucial in helping us reduce COVID-19 cases and controlling the virus. Currently, there are two vaccines approved in the U.S: Moderna and Pfizer. They are both administered in two doses, Pfizer’s doses should be 21 days apart and the Moderna doses should be 28 days apart. The technology behind it is that it uses mRNA which uses the genetic material of the COVID-19 virus. mRNA is short for messenger RNA which is the genetic material of a gene that knows how to make proteins. Your cells will destroy that mRNA and then your body will create antibodies that will fight off the COVID-19 virus if you ever contract it. The coronavirus vaccine is the first approved vaccine to use the mRNA way but it has been researched before. 30 years ago a scientist named Katalin Kariko began researching how mRNA vaccines could work. Although it being a relatively new technology, so far it has been proven to be 95% effective in preventing the COVID-19 disease in adults.

Many people don’t want to take the vaccine because they think they are injecting them with the virus but this is not necessarily true. In other vaccines, they do use the virus in the vaccine but it is a dead virus meaning it can’t reproduce and make you sick. Having the dead virus in the vaccine is what allows your body to create antibodies. However, the COVID-19 vaccine does not use this approach of having the dead virus in the vaccine, instead, they use the genetic material of the virus.

I personally believe that the vaccine is effective and people should take it. As I am not an adult yet I would want more research done on the side effect of the vaccine on minors. We don’t know if the vaccine can react differently within different age-groups so after more research is done, I would feel safer about taking the vaccine. I hope enough adults will take the vaccine so we can stop the COVID-19 virus from taking over our lives.

*For a more detailed explanation of how viruses/vaccines work look at these google slides and watch this video *

//How it Started by Farah Al-Gubari//


Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that have been around for a long time, including MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. Many of them can cause a variety of illnesses, from mild cough to severe respiratory illnesses. COVID-19 is one of the only strains of Coronaviruses that has been transmitted to humans by animals and that is why it's dangerous.


In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. However, COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 it originally came from an animal, likely a bat.

Many sciences believe that the virus started due to the fact that Southeast Asian rainforests lost almost 50% of their trees that were once the neutral habitats for bats and other animals that carry many diseases we still have not yet learned of.

This video explains explain more about how climate change is connected to COVID-19: ( )


COVID-19 is a virus that attacks receptors on healthy cells, especially those in the lungs. This might not affect many people with healthy receptor systems, however, it could be deadly to those with receptors health problems, such as asthma.


There is a new mutation to COVID-19 that has been discovered in the U.K, USA, and Africa. Scientists estimate that these mutations could make the virus up to 70% more transmissible, meaning it could spread more easily. There is no proof, however, that the vaccine would be ineffective against them.

//COVID-19 Campaign by Xochitl Diaz-Suarez//

In Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), the Health and Wellness department is developing a campaign that targets Bay Area youth to inform them on COVID-19, in collaboration with the All-City Council Student Governing Board (ACC). The campaign is being launched on social media, soon, because of the rapid rates of COVID-19 infection found in Bay Area youth. Our community has been told to isolate themselves, which can be unrealistic; especially, for youth in Oakland. The main goal of this campaign is to inform, prevent, and reduce the harm that youth are experiencing. We want to create space for balance. The community acknowledges that youth want to hang out with others, but we need to learn to be safe. Here is a preview of what we will cover:

1. What is COVID-19?:

COVID-19 is a new strain of Coronavirus, one we’ve never seen before in people. Because it’s new, our bodies don’t have antibodies (our body’s way of fighting off illness).

2. Who is most at risk for COVID-19?:

  • Latinx & Black communities have been the most affected by COVID-19.

  • Older people are impacted because their immune systems aren’t as strong.

  • People with other health issues like asthma, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

3. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? What should you watch out for?:

Chills, runny nose, cough (usually dry), shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, tiredness, aches/pains, headaches, sore throat, and loss of smell.

  • About 40% of people who have COVID-19 (4/10 people) are asymptomatic. This means they have NO symptoms at all and can still pass the virus to others which makes COVID-19 really difficult to control.

4. Should I get tested for COVID-19?

You should get tested if:

  • You’re going to be around someone who is older or has health issues because they are at higher risk for COVID-19.

  • You’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19

  • You have any symptoms.

  • Check what sites are available nearby!

5. How can I protect myself, my family, my friends, and still live my life?

We know it is hard to not be able to spend time with others as we did before. If you do spend time with others, here are some things you can do to make it less risky:

  • Wear a mask CORRECTLY the whole time (double layer masks are best).


  • DO NOT share food, drinks, cigarettes, blunts, etc.

6. And many more.

When our campaign launches, information answering these questions will be accessible through videos, visuals, and resources, on social media.

I was inspired to collaborate in this work as the Culture and Climate director in ACC with our Health and Wellness Director. After observing rates of positive COVID-19 cases rapidly increasing in Deep East Oakland, I realized these cases disproportionately affect Black and Latinx families. Personally, my family was impacted by COVID-19. It was frightening because my mom had high cholesterol and asthma. Not being able to visit her, watching her have trouble breathing, while also experiencing other symptoms, was painful. We want youth voices to lead this campaign on making information digestible and to live safely, without harming themselves or others.

So, what can you do to get involved? If you want to give our COVID-19 campaign feedback, please email Mara Larsen-Fleming ( ) or Christian Castillo ( ) because we need more YOUTH VOICES!

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