On a Friday in mid-March, before the shutdown, special education teacher Sayuri Valenza was teaching her class at Bret Harte Middle School in Oaklandâs Dimond District when a student brought in a bag of Hot Cheetos. The student started sharing the chips with classmates, leaving everyone with red-dusted fingertips.
âFor a couple weeks, we had been talking about needing to be careful, not sharing stuff, and that we have to be more clean and not spread germs,â Valenza said. Coronavirus cases were growing, and experts were stressing the importance of hand-washing, sanitation, and cleanliness.
âI remember throwing a fit, while laughing and joking, asking, âWhat donât you understand? What do I have to do to get you to understand you canât do this anymore?ââ
Valenza and her students didnât know it at the time, but that day, March 13, would be the last day her class would meet in person. Oakland Unified School District closed schools after that for the remainder of the school year to limit the spread of coronavirus.