All 32 of Santa Clara County's school district superintendents and the county superintendent of schools signed a joint letter sent to families Wednesday evening that confirms their campuses will be closed for the rest of the school year.
The letter followed public statements Tuesday and Wednesday by top California officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, that the state expected — but was not mandating — schools wouldn't resume in-person classes this school year.
Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin took definitive local action on Wednesday, announcing that all district schools will be closed for classroom instruction for the remainder of this school year. Austin has the authority to make such a decision through an emergency resolution the school board approved in March.
"We empathize with students who were holding out hope for a return this year," Austin said. "Most people knew that reopening this year was unlikely given the challenges facing our nation and a virus still spreading rapidly. At a minimum, I hope a definitive answer can provide a degree of relief. While our classrooms are closed, teaching and learning continues."
Free meals distribution to students and families in need will also continue, he said.
In the coming weeks, districts across the county will communicate with families about how grades, graduation, transcripts, scholarships, summer school and continued distance learning instruction will be handled, the countywide letter states.
"We acknowledge that distance learning comes with its own set of challenges, and we commit to provide students, families and educators with ongoing support. As all of our districts further implement distance learning options and academic strategies, the social and emotional well-being of all of our students is of utmost importance to us. We are working to find ways to stay connected which will continue to help us learn together and celebrate important milestones," the letter states.
In San Mateo County, districts also announced Wednesday that schools would be closed through June.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.