Palo Alto Unified is proposing to reopen schools in a phased schedule over the next four months, starting with the district's youngest students in the fall and ending with middle and high schoolers in early January.
Superintendent Don Austin announced on Wednesday the potential reopening dates, which are dependent on public health conditions across Santa Clara County and subject to approval by the school board. The district released an updated, 52-page reopening plan on Friday evening.
Staff are proposing that transitional kindergarteners and first-graders return in person on Oct. 12, second- and third-graders on Oct. 26, fourth- and fifth-graders on Nov. 9 and sixth- though 12th-graders on Jan. 7.
These dates assume that Santa Clara County stays in the less restrictive "red" tier for at least two weeks under California's color-coded reopening framework. The county moved into the red tier on Sept. 8, meaning local schools could possibly reopen as soon as Sept. 22, the two-week mark.
The school district reopened some campuses last week to serve small groups of high-need secondary school students in person, but the majority of students are continuing to learn remotely from home. The district is still working on bringing back more special-education students in person, Austin said.
Austin will be holding a webinar to walk the public through the proposed reopening plans on Monday, Sept. 21, at 5:30 p.m.
"We will discuss the rationale behind staggered starts at the elementary school level and the semester return of secondary students," Austin said in a weekly update posted on Friday.
The school board will also discuss the plans, as well as safety protocols and preparation, at its virtual meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 6:30 p.m., and then take action on the reopening dates at a special meeting on Sept. 29.