Oakland, CA

BART upgrades air filtration system to curb the spread of COVID-19 virus aboard trains

Refugio Garcia

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Your BART train might stink but the filtration systems have been upgraded

BART passengers are frequently confronted with mysterious, sometimes foul scents while aboard trains but BART, along with other Bay Area transit agencies have reported upgrading their filtration systems to combat the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, East Bay Times reports.

BART replaced the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value level eight (MERV-8) filters previously used on trains with MERV-14 filters, which are commonly used in hospital settings and are currently the highest level filter used by Bay Area transit agencies.

The upgraded filters replace air every 70 seconds to help passengers avoid contracting COVID following the federal ruling to drop masking rules.

However, despite the upgrade to BART’s ventilation systems, the agency on Thursday will consider reinstating a mask mandate as many passengers and advocates have pushed back while the Biden Administration appeals the federal ruling last week that dropped masking requirements aboard public transportation.

Oakland teachers plan strike amid school closures

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Teachers and other staff in Oakland are planning a one-day strike Friday in protest of the school district’s plan to close several area schools, East Bay Times reports.

The strike was authorized by the Oakland Education Association last week in protest of the Oakland Unified board of trustees’ vote in February to shrink or merge 11 schools due to budget issues and declining student enrollment.

The move to reduce area schools has been met with a slew of protests, marches and rallies from teachers, students and parents. Two district employees held a hunger strike at one point in protest of the closures.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a complaint with the California Department of Justice on the grounds that the plan disproportionately impacts Black students and their families.

Over half the student body at four of the seven Oakland schools slated for closure are Black. The complaint also alleges that the district failed to carry out a racial equity analysis for the planned closures – as per the district’s own resolution adopted last year.

Organizers say the strike will include the formation of picket lines at Oakland campuses at 6:30 a.m. on Friday and will be followed by a rally at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater at 11 a.m.

CEID to host walk-a-thon Saturday

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The Center for Early Intervention on Deafness will host its 19th annual walk-a-thon this Saturday at Lake Merritt to benefit and celebrate the CEID community.

Events like Saturday’s walk-a-thon, along with the generosity of donors and participants, help fund the CEID’s efforts in programming and support for members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, specializing in early education, audiology programs for children and adults as well as offering support for families.

Last year's event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will kick off at 10 a.m. near the entrance of the Children’s Fairyland at Lake Merritt where participants can buy an event t-shirt. The walk-a-thon starts at 11 a.m.

Click here for more information on the event and how to donate.

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