News

Temperature checks and staggered schedules: State releases guidance on reopening schools

Officials acknowledge state, federal funding will be school districts' 'biggest challenge'

An empty courtyard at Gunn High School in Palo Alto on April 3. In a document released June 8, the state recommends creating smaller cohorts of students who are on campus at any given time. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The California Department of Education released on Monday much-anticipated guidance for reopening schools this fall, with officials emphasizing that the document is not meant to be a mandate for local school districts.

The 62-page document covers in detail everything from personal protective equipment for teachers and staggered schedules to seating assignments on school buses. It was compiled with guidance from public health experts and educational leaders, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, a statewide reopening schools task force and focus groups with educators and health officials.

"We recognize that COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on everything that we know about providing an education," state Superintendent Tony Thurmond said in a virtual press conference on June 8. "It forces us to enter into new conversation about the way educational programming looks and will look going forward."

The California Department of Education is leaving it to school districts, in collaboration with local public health officials, to decide the specifics of when to reopen. The state guidance also will likely be adjusted as more information becomes available, Thurmond said.

The guidance focuses heavily on physical distancing in classrooms and school campuses and recommends creating smaller cohorts of students who are on campus at any given time. Many California school districts, including Palo Alto Unified, are planning for a hybrid model of in-person and distance learning. Thurmond said his department will be asking county superintendents to gather information from their local districts on the ratio of face-to-face and remote learning. School officials will be asked to "analyze their campus through the lens of 6 feet" to determine how many students and staff can safely be on a campus at the same time.

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Thurmond said districts across the state are repurposing cafeterias, gyms and outdoor areas to use for socially distanced instruction.

To ease distancing and capacity at schools, he encouraged districts to accommodate requests from parents who want to keep their children at home and learning remotely.

"We are not saying or mandating that anyone be in distance learning. We are simply saying districts accommodate what they can," Thurmond said.

In a survey the Palo Alto school district conducted in late May, 25% of respondents said they would prefer distance learning in the fall.

"We will be formally asking families to determine if they truly wish for online options or if they prefer face-to-face interaction with a hybrid (some physically in front of a teacher and some online) system," Superintendent Don Austin wrote in a message about reopening to staff and families on Monday.

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In an interview, he said these responses from families will "inform our next steps more than the guidelines did today."

He's more concerned with what the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health will say about reopening schools, guidance he anticipates will be more restrictive than the state's. Palo Alto Unified is exploring giving students and families the option of taking some courses online and some in-person, he said. The district is in the midst of negotiating with its unions for a vastly different work environment in the fall.

The state recommends that districts have plans in place to close schools again and return to full distance learning if necessary due to local public health conditions. Thurmond said schools should prepare for the "likelihood" of this happening.

Teachers and staff should be required to wear face coverings while on campus, the guidance says, which can include face shields to "enable students to see their faces and to avoid potential barriers to phonological instruction." Classified staff who are tasked with deep cleaning should also "be equipped with proper PPE for COVID-19 disinfection," including disposable gown, gloves, eye protection and a mask or respirator, the guidance states.

If a school district requires students to wear face coverings, it must provide them, the state recommends. Districts should consider how to address this with students with disabilities who might not want or be able to wear a mask, the guidance reads.

Schools should check staff and students for symptoms of the virus, including "visual wellness checks" and temperature checks using a no-touch thermometer. The state suggests districts purchase a "sufficient number" of no-touch thermal scan thermometers for such screenings. The state also suggests parents screen their children before going to school each day.

The "biggest challenge" school officials face, Thurmond said, is how districts will be able to pay for additional equipment and operational changes as the state faces a $54 billion deficit, with budget cuts on the horizon.

"In order to do these things, schools need to have lots of personal protective equipment. That means revenue from the state to support it. We acknowledge that there's a challenge right now, at least through the most recently proposed budget," he said, noting that the state Legislature proposed a budget last week that would restore education cuts.

Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Mary Ann Dewan said Friday that local school staff and faculty still do not have the required amount of personal protective equipment necessary to reopen campuses to students. Dewan said the district would need both state and local assistance, not only in acquiring protective equipment but also in maintaining uncovered costs for certain educational programs and after-school child care as schools begin to reopen later this year.

Schools are also waiting to hear from the state about flexibility with instructional minutes requirements and federal funding for school meals, Thurmond said. His department is lobbying the U.S. Department of Agriculture to free up funding to reimburse districts providing meals to students.

The guidance includes lengthy sections on instruction, social-emotional learning, special education, assessment and early learning and care programs.

"The intent of this document is to be a guide for our local discussion in reopening schools and it honors that there is no one-size-fits-all solution as the context of each of our districts varies and is unique," said state Chief Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Gregson. "There are no mandates in this document."

The California Department of Public Health also released updated guidance on Friday for reopening schools and child care facilities.

Read the state's guidance for reopening schools here:

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Temperature checks and staggered schedules: State releases guidance on reopening schools

Officials acknowledge state, federal funding will be school districts' 'biggest challenge'

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 8, 2020, 2:00 pm
Updated: Mon, Jun 8, 2020, 7:53 pm

The California Department of Education released on Monday much-anticipated guidance for reopening schools this fall, with officials emphasizing that the document is not meant to be a mandate for local school districts.

The 62-page document covers in detail everything from personal protective equipment for teachers and staggered schedules to seating assignments on school buses. It was compiled with guidance from public health experts and educational leaders, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, a statewide reopening schools task force and focus groups with educators and health officials.

"We recognize that COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on everything that we know about providing an education," state Superintendent Tony Thurmond said in a virtual press conference on June 8. "It forces us to enter into new conversation about the way educational programming looks and will look going forward."

The California Department of Education is leaving it to school districts, in collaboration with local public health officials, to decide the specifics of when to reopen. The state guidance also will likely be adjusted as more information becomes available, Thurmond said.

The guidance focuses heavily on physical distancing in classrooms and school campuses and recommends creating smaller cohorts of students who are on campus at any given time. Many California school districts, including Palo Alto Unified, are planning for a hybrid model of in-person and distance learning. Thurmond said his department will be asking county superintendents to gather information from their local districts on the ratio of face-to-face and remote learning. School officials will be asked to "analyze their campus through the lens of 6 feet" to determine how many students and staff can safely be on a campus at the same time.

Thurmond said districts across the state are repurposing cafeterias, gyms and outdoor areas to use for socially distanced instruction.

To ease distancing and capacity at schools, he encouraged districts to accommodate requests from parents who want to keep their children at home and learning remotely.

"We are not saying or mandating that anyone be in distance learning. We are simply saying districts accommodate what they can," Thurmond said.

In a survey the Palo Alto school district conducted in late May, 25% of respondents said they would prefer distance learning in the fall.

"We will be formally asking families to determine if they truly wish for online options or if they prefer face-to-face interaction with a hybrid (some physically in front of a teacher and some online) system," Superintendent Don Austin wrote in a message about reopening to staff and families on Monday.

In an interview, he said these responses from families will "inform our next steps more than the guidelines did today."

He's more concerned with what the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health will say about reopening schools, guidance he anticipates will be more restrictive than the state's. Palo Alto Unified is exploring giving students and families the option of taking some courses online and some in-person, he said. The district is in the midst of negotiating with its unions for a vastly different work environment in the fall.

The state recommends that districts have plans in place to close schools again and return to full distance learning if necessary due to local public health conditions. Thurmond said schools should prepare for the "likelihood" of this happening.

Teachers and staff should be required to wear face coverings while on campus, the guidance says, which can include face shields to "enable students to see their faces and to avoid potential barriers to phonological instruction." Classified staff who are tasked with deep cleaning should also "be equipped with proper PPE for COVID-19 disinfection," including disposable gown, gloves, eye protection and a mask or respirator, the guidance states.

If a school district requires students to wear face coverings, it must provide them, the state recommends. Districts should consider how to address this with students with disabilities who might not want or be able to wear a mask, the guidance reads.

Schools should check staff and students for symptoms of the virus, including "visual wellness checks" and temperature checks using a no-touch thermometer. The state suggests districts purchase a "sufficient number" of no-touch thermal scan thermometers for such screenings. The state also suggests parents screen their children before going to school each day.

The "biggest challenge" school officials face, Thurmond said, is how districts will be able to pay for additional equipment and operational changes as the state faces a $54 billion deficit, with budget cuts on the horizon.

"In order to do these things, schools need to have lots of personal protective equipment. That means revenue from the state to support it. We acknowledge that there's a challenge right now, at least through the most recently proposed budget," he said, noting that the state Legislature proposed a budget last week that would restore education cuts.

Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Mary Ann Dewan said Friday that local school staff and faculty still do not have the required amount of personal protective equipment necessary to reopen campuses to students. Dewan said the district would need both state and local assistance, not only in acquiring protective equipment but also in maintaining uncovered costs for certain educational programs and after-school child care as schools begin to reopen later this year.

Schools are also waiting to hear from the state about flexibility with instructional minutes requirements and federal funding for school meals, Thurmond said. His department is lobbying the U.S. Department of Agriculture to free up funding to reimburse districts providing meals to students.

The guidance includes lengthy sections on instruction, social-emotional learning, special education, assessment and early learning and care programs.

"The intent of this document is to be a guide for our local discussion in reopening schools and it honors that there is no one-size-fits-all solution as the context of each of our districts varies and is unique," said state Chief Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Gregson. "There are no mandates in this document."

The California Department of Public Health also released updated guidance on Friday for reopening schools and child care facilities.

Read the state's guidance for reopening schools here:

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Herb Caen
Barron Park

on Jun 8, 2020 at 5:02 pm
Name hidden, Barron Park

on Jun 8, 2020 at 5:02 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


PAUSD Custodian
Jordan Middle School
on Jun 8, 2020 at 5:21 pm
PAUSD Custodian, Jordan Middle School
on Jun 8, 2020 at 5:21 pm
8 people like this

Guidance on How to reopen the schools - Interesting without a District Custodial Supervisor- The Human Resources Department has made a recommendation to eliminated a Vital Position the District Custodial Supervisor this Position is going to the Board again according to Carolyn Chow to save the District money per Board Docs on the Agenda for Tomorrow’s Meeting Dissolution 7b - Why doesn’t the higher up’s take a pay cut just like our Sister School Districts for example why can’t Don Austin, Carolyn Chow and Karen Hendricks take one for the team so that the Classified Staff can stay it would be inconvenient for them to lose money and all the luxuries. There are so many other ways to adjust the budget with eliminating Vital positions - I sense laws suit aligning soon towards PAUSD they are hiring more people during theses uncertain time and eliminating the Vital ones.. PAUSD has a New Facilities Director making more than his previous School District. (A Lot More) Eric Holmes is his name. But they want to eliminate more position to cover the cost. Also the intend to increase Bus Drivers hour from 5hrs to 7hrs which would cost 165k per year . When Some parents prefer to drop- off and pick up there kids to prevent to spread of COVID-19 . PAUSD doesn’t have the proper amount of Buses to safely transport our Students with out Physical Distancing plus the Bus Drivers will not disinfect the buses in between usage. This is where PAUSD is throwing money down the drain again.
As for Elizabeth Cardoso she is currently the District Custodial Supervisor at PAUSD She has all the training necessary to support the Students, Staff and the Community. Elizabeth told the higher up’s not to remove the removed the Hand Sanitizers dispensers from the Classrooms from the beginning when she arrived but unfortunately the Director from the Department along with Purchasing had them all removed - This is the reason PAUSD didn’t have Hand Sanitizer but then they want to charge 19k & plus under Hand sanitizers for COVID-19 WOW!!
Elizabeth is a certified Trainer along with a Military back ground I have learned so much from her she has given us the proper tools along with the proper training so far she created a Training Program that I have benefited from . Why can’t they eliminate the Warehouse Supervisors position Bob Bishop he really isn’t aware what is going on in the Custodians World he relies on The District Custodial Supervisors Guidance anyways. Just a thought!!
This is unfortunate that PAUSD would do this to the Students, Staff and Community- We need to come together as a community and voice our concerns to the Board.. It’s not fair for our Students.. PAUSD is going to become a Hub for COVID-19 along with other virus and our Students are going to bring home and expose who whoever we have home with underlining conditions. Unbelievable that PAUSD would do this during these uncertain times. Wrong Move PAUSD hopefully the Board doesn’t fall for it..


parent
Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 6:16 pm
parent, Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 6:16 pm
16 people like this

Will campuses close for 14 days (or some duration) each time a staff/student tests positive — as per earlier this year?

Distance learning seems inevitable. Let’s face reality sooner this time around, and focus resources and energies on supporting staff and students accordingly.


Priorities
Evergreen Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:49 pm
Priorities, Evergreen Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 7:49 pm
19 people like this

Looks like those at the district office can't be too concerned about how they're going to educate the children. The superintendent decided that time was better spent revamping the website!

It's all about how things look on the outside. Game of smoke and mirrors.

Web Link


Mother
Greenmeadow
on Jun 8, 2020 at 8:31 pm
Mother, Greenmeadow
on Jun 8, 2020 at 8:31 pm
9 people like this

What a nightmare. The virus hasn't taken toll on education, the overwrought hysterical policy responses have. But now the school bureaucrats and other administrators have an excuse to spend time on 62 page reports and other junk. Lockdown policy has been a disaster for our children.


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 11:28 pm
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2020 at 11:28 pm
10 people like this

@ Mother-You are not an infectious disease expert. You are a mom. There is now a Novel Virus with no real known treatment now in play. You have no idea how the virus will play out in a school building since everything got shut down a few months ago. If your child got CoronaVirus at school you would be the 1st parent to file a lawsuit stating the district and the state didn’t do enough to protect your precious child. That’s why they are writing that document. This isn’t “hysteria!” This is real! You have no idea how the virus will spread when/if schools reopen. You have no idea if there will be a resurgence in the fall and winter. You have no idea about the direction of the Pandemic. It’s also so nice of you to consider the staff of these schools in your silly post. Students will likely be required to wear masks and have temperature checks. There may also be times where schools may have to close and go back to Distance Learning. Get used to it and deal with this new reality. In fact, I would love for you to offer your services in a classroom of 20-30 students with no social distancing, no masks, and no temperature checks since you are so brave and think this is all hysterics. Kids are never vectors for illnesses and diseases. Yeah right! Put your health on the line first in the classroom and then please let us all know if the coast is clear Mother.


Malory
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:19 am
Malory, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:19 am
4 people like this

So it’s all about the lawsuits huh? So fire the classified staff, and streamline the teaching staff and go ALL online....this is an RNA virus that is never going away...vaccines don’t work on RNA viruses because they mutate. And if your so scared of kids because they are “vectors” for disease, you better not go to Target or the grocery store either!


Malory
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:29 am
Malory, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:29 am
8 people like this

And good luck proving you caught Covid from a kid who caught it at school. Both teachers and kids can catch it ANYWHERE! Those lawsuits will be dismissed. If a teacher or parent tries to sue, all a lawyer has to say is “ Do you get take out food?.... Do you go to the gas station?.... Do you go to a store?” Dismissed


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:34 am
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:34 am
4 people like this

@Malory-Another infectious disease specialist! You are brave. Please stay in a classroom, a congregate setting, for 6 hours a day with 20-30 kids and tell us all the difference between getting take out, going to a grocery store, or getting gas. Let us know if The Virus is just a “little flu.” The reality of it is, if you think teachers are going to be all pumped up to go back into a classroom with COVID in play, you are sadly mistaken. They may not get a vaccine ready for it, but they will have new medical treatments with time. You also, again, don’t know if they might be able to have a breakthrough even though it is an RNA virus.
To your point about lawsuits-Sure it might get thrown out, but you are not a legal expert either. Don’t kid yourself about how many parents will try to make some money off of it. PAUSD is famous for frivolous lawsuits and threats of lawsuits when even the slightest things don’t go “the PAUSD parent’s way.” That’s why they are putting that 62 page document in play. It will say things like “to try to prevent the spread of Coronavirus” and not “to stop Coronavirus.” It’s all for legal purposes. I hate to say it because all of the nasty parents on this forum that always beg for firings of staff and pay cuts, but you might actually be right about that and get your wish. They may lay people off due to Distance Learning and budget cuts. You will pay the same amount of taxes though! Ha ha!


So Smart
Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:30 am
So Smart, Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:30 am
8 people like this

@John Hicks - You must be the smartest person in the world. You continue to tell people how little they know and how much you are certain will happen. According to you:
"Mother" has no idea how the virus will play out in a school. She also will be the 1st one to file a lawsuit and the district is writing their "return to school" document solely to protect themselves legally. So, you admit that the district is only concerned about its liability? OK, that's good. As long as you can admit that while parents are focused on their children, the district is focused on their own interests.

You tell Malory that she's not an infectious disease expert (as you told Mother), but you also say that they will have new medical treatments for Covid-19 with time. So, you must be an infectious disease expert or someone with firsthand knowledge that there will be mitigations coming. Please tell us more, the world is waiting to hear from you.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:43 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 8:43 am
7 people like this

All these people worrying about school, did you or your family go out in a protest? I think that Covid did too!


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:16 am
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:16 am
7 people like this

@So Smart-Sure. What a silly point that you made. Of course the school districts will protect their interests. Wake up! Do you actually think they will open themselves up for litigation. Your child first nonsense is part of your parent mentality fantasy world. The schools already do enough as we’ve seen with COVID. Free day care, meal services, structure for families and children. It’s already ridiculous. Like any businesses that will make you sign waivers upon entry, do you think schools want to open themselves up for lawsuits? Especially in PAUSD, where you have the #1 school district in California, and parents still find a way to complain about everything and sue or threaten to sue, then hop on this forum and cry about everything. Sure you all can be trusted. Everything will be cool! Yeah right!
They will put “CHILDREN MASKS” and “DAILY TEMPERATURE CHECKS” in writing because they know some parents will try to fight it. “I DON’T BELIVE IN MASKS! MY CHILD IS NOT GOING TO WEAR A MASK!” Blah blah blah! “TEMPERATURE CHECKS ARE INVASIVE.” Blah blah blah! Maybe Mother wouldn’t be the 1st person to sue, maybe you would be?
As far as treatments, nothing is certain, but information is being put out there almost daily that scientists are making progress for treatments and possibly a vaccine. That’s silly. It’s in the news almost every day. Again, if you don’t think a classroom full of 20-30 students with no masks and no social distancing etc. is safe, please volunteer to go first into the classroom!


Resident
Charleston Gardens
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:47 am
Resident, Charleston Gardens
on Jun 9, 2020 at 10:47 am
3 people like this

"20-30 students with no masks and no social distancing etc." - to clarify, the County guidelines currently limit groups to 12 students; there is some discussion the number may go up to 15. It will not be 20-30. Social distancing will be required. Masks will likely be required, at least for older children.

Many other countries are running school this way already, so this won't be novel or strange, though it will be a new thing for us.


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:21 am
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:21 am
2 people like this

Resident-I am aware of the new safety protocols. When I say “20-30 students” etc. I’m putting that out there to the parents like Mother, So Smart, and Malory on here that I guess don’t believe in the new safety protocols and think “this is all so ridiculous.” I mean around 20000 new cases a day nationally and around a 1000 U.S. deaths a day on average nationally, and a lot of these parents either don’t think we are all experiencing a very sad and horrible time, or they are in denial and don’t think the pandemic is real. I don’t get how they somehow think opening schools without at least implementing safety protocols will be safe. I can’t say for certain what their thoughts are, but based on their posts here, it just kind of shows me how selfish and uncaring that a lot of(not all) this parent group is for the health and well being of staff members and even students. It seems they’d rather play pretend and have everything “go back to the way it was” to satisfy their needs when that’s not the new reality we are all facing. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the case load in our area decreases, that students don’t spread it at schools in the Fall, and also do not bring COVID home to their parents.


Fact Checker
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:25 am
Fact Checker, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:25 am
Like this comment

Whatever your views on the state guidelines, can we all agree that we should be focused on getting students 100% of their instructional minutes, streamed instruction if they must stay home (isolation/quarantine/vulnerable/vulnerable family member), and recorded instruction (so all can participate even if they are sick and need to catch up).

At least for high school and probably for middle school (and maybe even for elementary), this would increase learning and improve mental health for our students.


James Thurber
Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:31 pm
James Thurber, Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:31 pm
7 people like this

Ladies and gentlemen: Remember that the 2019 / 2020 and 2020 / 2021 school years are going to be unique in many ways and the long term effect on public education will be minimal.

That being said the virus has little effect on the VAST majority of folks under 18. That takes us from pre-school thru 12th grade.

Because teachers are the ones most at risk, and families at home, I was hoping that elementary school classes would be divided into two sections and taught three hours in the morning (half a class) and three in the afternoon (the other half). Asking the students to wear masks and maintain social distancing is most likely a waste of time. I'm a retired public school teacher and currently substitute teach in Palo Alto. You can instruct the students to do so (social distancing) but I doubt very much if it'll make any difference. They're children!

As far as Middle and High School goes the students transfer between classes and social distancing / separation will not work, regardless of circumstances. So ask the students to wear masks, have the instructors wear GOOD masks, and hope for the best.

Again, these two school years will be unique in history. This pandemic is (hopefully) a once in a century event. After a vaccine is developed (hopefully) this can be put behind us. Thanks for listening.


Students Need In Person School
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 3:00 pm
Students Need In Person School, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 3:00 pm
10 people like this

I am a teacher in the city of Palo Alto. And I'm looking forward to getting back in front of my students in person in the fall. "Distance Learning" did not work in the spring and will not work in the fall. As such, can we please stop calling it something it's not? "Distance Learning" is a pretty label applied by PAUSD administration in the spring to make parents/students feel better. The reality is that it was a crisis situation and there was very little/no learning in the spring. Most parents and students in PAUSD, and around the country, reported it was a total Fail for a myriad of reasons (many valid). Justifiably, the majority of PAUSD parents recently surveyed would like students to get back to school in person and are comfortable sending their students. And there are teachers like me comfortable teaching. Additionally, these CA Dept Educ guidelines are 62 pages of onerous, unnecessary policies driven by fear, not current data. Current data from many countries (Britain, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, etc) points to the fact that students are very rarely, if ever, either getting sick or vectors for the virus (as it relates to teachers). Given our specific circumstances in Palo Alto (1% infection rate, flat curve, kids not getting sick, students rarely if ever vectors passing to adults), PAUSD should proceed with school in person in the fall with a normal schedule and give these students what they deserve and are legally/morally entitled to - a real education.


So Smart
Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 5:38 pm
So Smart, Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 5:38 pm
4 people like this

@ John Hicks - So you admit to using exaggerated numbers to make a point? Very good.

My previous point is that while you complain that parents are only concerned about their kids getting in-person education, the district is only concerned about themselves. To that, you agreed.

I do actually volunteer in the classroom and plan on continuing to do so on a regular basis.

If the school moves to online instruction, then there should definitely be fewer teachers. Yes, our property taxes will remain the same, but at least the district can attempt to either save it or spend it on improving the online instruction they are providing. However, I believe most people have already stated that they want in-person instruction despite the horrendous launch this year.


Interested
Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 5:41 pm
Interested, Menlo Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 5:41 pm
Like this comment

@johnhicks

You have not stated your qualifications for the information you provide in your attacks on others. Are you an infactious disease expert? Do you have a degree in some other area that would make your comments credible? Are you a parent of a child in school?

Mother might not be an infectious disease expert but she knows her children and can see when they are not doing well with distance learning and social isolation.

I can agree with the other comments, children are not getting the level of education, emotional or social development that they need. The "Cohort" model really makes no sense, children will be interacting with kids in other cohorts outside of school through afterschool programs, play dates, sports programs, etc. so the ideal that children, especially young children will be isolated is not realistic. Time and money would be better spent in activities like checking each child, teacher and staff member on a daily basis (temperature at a bare minimum), having everyone wear face protection (Masks or shields), proving hand washing stations and requiring children to use them and finally offering distance learning full time for high rist children or children that live with a high risk person.


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:40 pm
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 7:40 pm
2 people like this

@ So Smart- Quickly. The districts are not only concerned for themselves. That document was a statewide guidance. Yes of course districts need to not get sued for millions. What good will that do them? Of course the mission is to serve children and families but with this unbelievable public health crisis of course they will make sure they don’t open themselves up to law suits. This isn’t fantasy land or make believe. Do you think it makes any sense for a school and their staff members(not just PAUSD) to want to get shut down somehow or be dealing with COVID lawsuits. I know you are trying to “win” but what exaggerated numbers did I use? ‘Mother’ lashed out about the 62 page document that listed safety precautions so students and staff can return safely or as safely as possible to school/work. She stated it was overwrought and hysterical. I was pointing out that if ‘Mother’ or any parent on here thinks it’s safe to jump into a classroom with 20-30 students without precautions instead of lowering class sizes and implementing safety protocols then they should go first. Do you care about the teachers at the schools? Not so much you specifically, but it’s doubtful with this particular parent group from posts I’ve read on other articles in this forum. Everything is cut salary, cut pensions, get rid of the unions. Sorry. This is different. This is a major public health crisis. Do you actually think they will just open the door and say “Come on in...there’s no pandemic?” The 62 page document is to provide guidance for the entire state of California as some communities may be hit harder than others. Again, with the getting rid of teachers. It must be so fun to have YOU volunteer at the school with you judging everything that goes on and then blabbing to everyone about it. Yes. You may get your wish! District staff may get laid off due to the state wide budget cuts. Wow. Another parent on here begrudging people their livelihoods. Shocking. Instead of volunteering and complaining online, you should have pursued a career in education. I am sure you’d have been amazing...
They made it and you didn’t.
@Interested-I am not “attacking” anyone. Why are you staying or implying my comments aren’t “credible?” Is it because my opinion doesn’t match your opinion? I know you are TRYING to turn it around on me, but I am just pointing out that it could be dangerous going back. No one knows with certainty. Yes her child may be going through a difficult time. A lot of people are right now. I have a heart for that aspect of it. It’s the fact that parents in this district think it will “go back to normal” and that there won’t be changes. That’s wishful thinking @ best. The safety protocols are being put in for a reason. I apologize if my comments don’t align with the parent first attitude of PAUSD parents that think everything revolves around what they want and that they are in charge of everything when they most certainly are not. We are now all facing a “new normal.” I agreed with you about cohorts being a waste of time because students will just mix with other kids and family members. The cohorts are likely for trying to simplify contact tracing. Again, that’s the point I was making, it can never truly be 100% safe but it seems cruel that SOME PAUSD parents are upset that precautions and safety protocols will be taken. Sorry. Parents won’t just be able to just drop their child off for 6 or 7 hours every day and then turn around and complain about everything they don’t like about the school in this forum and to their parent network like they did before COVID. I am also looking forward to the looming “Face Mask” argument that will be coming up soon here as the fall approaches. There was a teacher that posted on here earlier that was excited to return under any circumstances. I applaud that teacher for their bravery and dedication. Keep that teacher in mind when you all post your next set of complaints and wanting to get rid of teachers nonsense in this forum. It’s time to improve your attitudes.


interested
Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 10:24 am
interested, Menlo Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 10:24 am
2 people like this

@John Hicks,

You might want to re-read your comments; I would certainly consider them at attack. You seem to express that while others are on infectious disease experts you are. I am assuming that you are not and that, as stated above, you exaggerate numbers to bolster your arguments.

Unfortunately your arguments don't hold a lot of water. No on here argues against taking precautions. It is limiting classes to 10 to 12 person "Cohorts" that makes no sense. Teachers will interact will all of the students over a 2 week period so how are they getting exposed to any additional risk? I attended a Q&A meeting with the Menlo Park City School District last night and they admitted that the children in the different cohorts would be interacting at afterschool programs, child care, sports and other activities away from school. So given the fact that these kids will be interacting outside of school what is the risk of them being in the same class where they can be screened and will use precautions (Handwashing, masks, etc.)?

School is supposed to educate our children but it is also necessary for social and emotional development. The last three months have accomplished none of the above and the 2020/2021 school year is shaping up to also fail our children. For that reason I agree with the parents that are concerned about their children's wellbeing. I think the schools are offering a service to parents that don't want their children exposed because they are high risk or they live with high risk individuals. Maybe the schools could take teachers that also fit into this category and have them work from home with the children that do not attend school in person.


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 11:09 am
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 11:09 am
2 people like this

@ Interested-I am sorry for your reading comprehension issues. First, I agreed with you that cohorts are useless for the reasons you stated and pointed out it’s likely to try to make contact tracing easier if there was an outbreak. Second, I never used “exaggerated numbers.” Where are you getting that from? That’s a feeble attempt to try to discredit my comments. What I said was, and again, I am sorry for your reading comprehension issues, is that if precautions aren’t taken teachers would be in a classroom of 20-30 students like normal. I stated this because “MOTHER” said the policies that are going to be implemented are done out of hysterics and are overwrought, and that the virus hasn’t taken a toll on education. How does she know? Schools closed down in an emergency situation to avoid the spread. So when we return, how does MOTHER know COVID won’t spread? What’s really changed from March? Has COVID disappeared? That’s why I said she is not an infectious disease expert. Many actual infectious disease experts have pointed out a potential resurgence in the fall and winter. But let’s just say this is all hysterics. Also, if you actually think the state wouldn’t put out long, detailed guidelines with the worst public health crisis in 100 years currently happening you are living in a fantasy world. Of course this won’t be a normal year. Everyone will need to make adjustments. The usual PAUSD parents pattern of complaining, threatening lawsuits, and crying about everything this year won’t fly. On the bright side, this will be a wonderful opportunity for PAUSD parents to improve their attitudes and become better team players. SO SMART already stated she’d want teachers fired/let go if PAUSD goes to 100% distance learning for your precious children. It’s just such a nasty attitude. That’s why I’m here. You all demand perfection from teachers generally, and now you want them to go in and potentially risk their health, but at the same time you would use any excuse to have some of them fired/let go. Again, just nasty! Finally, for you to try to discredit my comments because I haven’t stated I am a medical professional is beyond silly. Nice try though. You are likely a stay at home mom. There is nothing wrong with that, but what qualifications do you have to post your opinion? Same as me or anyone else. Again, I am not attacking anyone, you and others are just taking it personally because someone is standing up to you and your little attitudes. Hopefully this post has clarified my point of view to make it simple enough for you to understand it. Thanks.


Dick D.
Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 2:01 pm
Dick D., Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 2:01 pm
Like this comment

John Hicks – you're right on! The others grumbling about the truth as if it was from an other Universe really ought to carefully look at what they're saying in contrast to the data and those expert enough to let us know the facts. Emotional blind folks expressing their frustration are looking only into what their guts say about themselves and their little world, not the entire community – not the truth,not reality


John Hicks
Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 3:42 pm
John Hicks, Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 3:42 pm
Like this comment

@ Dick D-Thanks for saying that Dick D. I come into this comment section and feel like I also am in some sort of alternate reality with these parent comments or like you said “another Universe.” It’s unbelievable that they would think the schools would just open the doors again without state guidance and safety protocols in place. Even with guidance, nothing will be guaranteed 100% safe. I hate to say this but the big rush to “get back to normal” could have dire consequences. The staff members will be on the front line of this, but students could potentially come home and infect their family members also. This somehow “offends” this parent group. They sent out a parent survey last week and although it’s a bit of speculation on my part, based on this small sample of parents that post in here, I am sure PAUSD is feeling a huge amount of pressure “to get things back to normal.” From what I gather, these PAUSD parents generally complain about everything, think they are in charge of running the schools and the district, and somehow know better than the teachers, administrators, and now public health officers all because they are “taxpayers.” Based on posts in other articles, they constantly call for disbanding the Union, teacher pay cuts, and doing away with teacher pensions and yet they DEMAND a pound of flesh from all District staff members. It’s a joke. Meanwhile they have absolutely no qualifications to try to guide the schools and district and on top of it PAUSD is the #1 school district in California. So how BAD can PAUSD really be. Come on! Also, it’s a free public school education. They just begrudge people their livelihoods for some reason. Some people were born to get out there and do it(teachers), and some people were born to complain(some of these parents). If they know so much about education and can do it better, why didn’t they pursue a career in education? They just like to get into their little parent networks and complain about everything. It’s kind of sad really. These PA parents think their every thought and opinion is so important and incredible and then they can’t see themselves on top of it. It’s laughable. This would be a good time for everyone to come together and be supportive of one another since you know, we are in a pandemic. Instead, they just found new things to complain about like the “quality of instruction” during Distance Learning as they eavesdropped on the teachers as if they know enough to judge anything. I am looking forward to the complaints In this forum about their children having to wear masks to school in a few months! I am here now and they will no longer just be able to post their nonsense carte blanche.


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