The Palo Alto Council of PTAs (PTAC) is hosting two town hall webinars this week to give families an opportunity to discuss questions related to reopening schools.
A webinar focused on elementary schools will take place on Monday, Aug. 3, and a second one focused on secondary schools will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 4. Both events begin at 5:30 p.m.
The town halls will feature Superintendent Don Austin and senior administrators, including Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Sharon Ofek, Elementary Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Anne Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Student Affairs Lana Conaway, special education administrators and school principals.
PTAC President Christina Schmidt will moderate the discussion. She said the town halls grew out of the parent organization's desire to provide clarity and answer questions during an unprecedented time for the school district.
"It became clear to us that our communities were frustrated and fearful, and our duty as PTA leaders is to provide information on resources and an opportunity for inclusive engagement of our community as families are navigating the reopening process," Schmidt said.
To prepare for the town halls, PTAC sent surveys out to parent leadership groups at every school — including PTAs, site councils, special education representatives and others — and collected more than 150 questions they have about reopening, Schmidt said. Based on the surveys, PTAC created a set of questions that they'll ask the district administrators during the town halls.
Palo Alto Unified is preparing to start the school year later this month fully online. The school board has expressed support for setting a firm date before which schools would not reopen in person — likely sometime in October — while the teachers union is lobbying to keep the schools closed until January 2021.
To watch the elementary schools town hall, click here.
To watch the secondary schools town hall, click 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.