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For small groups of Palo Alto students, class is in — in person

Original post made on Sep 12, 2020

The library was dark, the cafeteria was closed and the hallways were eerily quiet, but it was still back to school this week for small groups of Palo Alto Unified School District students.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 11, 2020, 7:44 PM

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Comments (12)

22 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 12, 2020 at 6:38 pm

Bob is a registered user.

Two PAUSD day care centers on elementary school campuses have had kids test positive over the past few weeks. There has been ZERO notification to any of the parents or PAUSD staff who have regularly been working on site. This is a disgrace. Look at what LAUSD is doing with their contact tracing and testing, with help from, wait for it... STANFORD! Our superintendent Don Austin is an ABSOLUTE JOKE! His approach? “Don’t worry we got this”.


11 people like this
Posted by Concerned Community Member
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 12, 2020 at 7:28 pm

Concerned Community Member is a registered user.

If you look at two of the pictures (the first and last ones in the article) 1 person doesn't have a mask, one person has one around his neck, and one has it below her nose. There are 6 people in the two pictures and half are not properly wearing masks, none are socially distance, there are no face shields and no barriers. How is this a safe environment for hours on end? I would not send my child to school with this lack of adherence to safety. I have heard 5 or 6 people, including children, on the campuses have tested positive for COVID but I have only heard this from other people, not the district. Not surprised the district isn't informing the community, because we might actually push for them not to open in person. Hopefully, they are informing their employees.


39 people like this
Posted by Paly Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 12, 2020 at 8:57 pm

Paly Teacher is a registered user.

@Concerned Community Member: If I’m not mistaken, those three people who aren’t wearing masks properly are students and because they’re in the Futures program, they’re students with special needs. If they aren’t able to wear one properly, they don’t have to (page 16, Web Link). “How is this a safe environment for hours on end? I would not send my child to school with this lack of adherence to safety.” I don’t think it’s very safe for the staff members working with them which is why I commend their effort. Do you think two thousand students and staff members intermingling between classrooms is safe? If not, I hope you’ll speak up against school reopening whether you hear about actual positive cases. “There are 6 people in the two pictures and half are not properly wearing masks, none are socially distance, there are no face shields and no barriers.” I mean, these students have special needs…staff members wouldn’t work so closely unless the students needed them to.

@Bob: “There has been ZERO notification to any of the parents or PAUSD staff who have regularly been working on site.” Did you speak to all of the parents and staff member who are part of these sites? I’m guessing no. Did you see actual positive results or were you told about them, i.e., are your casting stones like “disgrace” and “ABSOLUTE JOKE” based on hearsay? I’m really curious because if the district really is hiding something, I’d like to know. But if they’re not and they’re taking unwarranted heat based on unsubstantiated claims, then they should be defended.


8 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 12, 2020 at 9:00 pm

Bob is a registered user.

@paly teacher, I know of at least two cases, confirmed. I know staff that works at these sites and they have told me they received zero email or any other form of notification that there were positive tests. They had to see that the doors of the daycare were closed and ask around to find out what happened.


8 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 12, 2020 at 9:08 pm

Bob is a registered user.

@paly teacher and I forgot to mention the daycare kids and staff share the same entrances, hallways, and bathrooms as all site staff.


16 people like this
Posted by Infuriating!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 12, 2020 at 10:23 pm

Infuriating! is a registered user.

We return kids to school and then have media ENTER the classrooms to take pictures!!!! This is so upsetting. This article and the Mercury News article make one thing clear- Reopening was never about the students but instead about the superintendent’s ego! How dare he do this to these families! He is adding additional unneeded risk for nothing other than ego. This is beyond infuriating.


22 people like this
Posted by Educating the most at-risk students
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 13, 2020 at 1:50 am

Educating the most at-risk students is a registered user.

No need to point fingers. Reopening schools for small cohorts has nothing to do with ego, and everything to do with educating the most at-risk students, and the law.

"Compliance with CDC’s recommendations should not create civil rights concerns. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) prohibits disability discrimination by schools receiving federal financial assistance...Once school resumes, the school must return to providing special education and related services to students with disabilities in accordance with the student’s IEP or, for students entitled to FAPE under Section 504" Web Link

"The California Department of Public Health on Tuesday published rules for opening school campuses to small numbers of students with disabilities and other students who need in-person support and services that can’t be met through distance learning."
Web Link

Masks and face coverings are required EXCEPT "Anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that does not allow them to wear a mask" Web Link

Now that PAUSD is open for in-person instruction, the time has come to know and follow Safety Protocols, including third parties on school grounds. It's what we all want. Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Infuriating!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 13, 2020 at 9:11 am

Infuriating! is a registered user.

Thanks for responding Dr Austin-
There is no law stating media should come into classes to take pictures. Increasing our families risks and possible exposure to flaunt the choices you are making is only about ego. Fingers are pointed at you as you are the one making these choices. This is unacceptable.


19 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 14, 2020 at 12:12 pm

Jonathan Brown is a registered user.

The implication here is that all of our students would be on track to return to in-person learning following all relevant safety protocols if it weren't for opposition by the teachers' union. If that implication is untrue, then the teachers' union needs to make a clear statement on what its true position is. Everyone deserves the best education, not just students with special needs. We're in the red tier now. If we're not going back in October, we need a clear explanation about why not and we need to know the criteria for when in-person learning would be resumed. We also owe it to everyone to keep careful records of whether anyone who's resuming in-person teaching or learning now has contracted COVID-19 as a result of that interaction (rather than acquiring it elsewhere). Has there been one documented case of COVID-19 caused by this in-person learning/teaching? If we're not keeping this data, it's just lip service to say we're "following the science."


7 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Ventura
on Sep 14, 2020 at 6:39 pm

Bob is a registered user.

Why is PAUSD doing the bare minimum when it comes to their approach? Sure they might be “following” guidelines, and actually at times not providing PPE or enforcing an actual 6ft social distance, but wouldn’t we want our high achieving district to EXCEED guidelines? Isn’t that why you guys pay the big bucks to be here? Los Angeles Unified is testing EVERY SINGLE STUDENT AND STAFF MEMBER, and they are a much bigger district, making that task even harder to tackle.

Lots of “fingers crossed” in PAUSD leadership right now.


5 people like this
Posted by No standing out
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 14, 2020 at 7:19 pm

No standing out is a registered user.

Austin said that PAUSD would not move to in-person classes unless other surrounding districts were doing it as well. "We will not be going alone, I can tell you that much." I think it is driven in large part by a desire to avoid litigation. PAUSD is going a different route now than it has in the past, with a significant change in direction happening under the cover of COVID. Some students and teachers are relieved by the new direction and the focus on equity over exceptionalism, while others are horrified and leaving. The refusal to be more proactive on COVID is just one aspect of that larger shift in direction.


10 people like this
Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Facts and Figures is a registered user.

@Bob

Run for School Board in 2 years. Please.

We need more critical thinkers and practical people on the School Board.

Does this current Board ever say NO to Don Austin? What are they doing then?

--no $ cuts to admin salaries in a recession when we need $ for PPE
--no infrastructure fixes to schools so kids and staff can go back more safely
--no transparency about their DUTY to return to live instruction and provide distance learning to whoever wants it


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