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Palo Alto Unified to reopen for sixth grade students next month

Original post made on Feb 2, 2021

The Palo Alto school district is moving forward with a plan to allow sixth graders to return to in-person learning in the first week of March, the district announced on Friday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 1, 2021, 2:13 PM

Comments (18)

Posted by Facts please!
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 2, 2021 at 10:36 am

Facts please! is a registered user.

So grateful for the PA school board and Don Austin! Thank you!!

Posted by LAHscot
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 2, 2021 at 10:56 am

LAHscot is a registered user.

Until 6th-grade teachers have their vaccinations, they should not be forced back to in-person teaching. EVERYONE wants to resume teaching in schools but it has to be done safely. Without vaccinations, teachers and their families will be placed at avoidable risk. Think again PAUSD DO and Board! Get your teachers vaccinated FIRST.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 2, 2021 at 12:06 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

You should be thanking the poor staff and not Austin as he won’t be the one to be forced to work in person. It seems obvious to me that when the case numbers are so high that we are in purple tier, extra-contagious variants are spreading, health experts are advocating that people start double-masking with N95s to go to the grocery store, there is no possible way we could safely open schools, and only the most desperate magical thinking could convince you that there is. Yet people here are STILL convincing themselves that public school buildings are somehow safer than anywhere else.

It isn’t safe enough and immoral to open schools until school staff have been fully vaccinated and community spread of all strains of COVID-19 have been controlled.

Ask yourself: Why are boards of education meeting via Zoom instead of in-person? Why are state department of education employees working from home? Why are most employees of private corporations working remotely? Why are primary care doctors refusing to see patients who have a cough or headache in-person, but instead conducting tele-health visits and sending all patients with possible COVID symptoms to the emergency room or urgent care? I’ll tell you why - it’s not safe for people to be around other people right now!

Given that children are often asymptomatic but can still efficiently transmit the virus, until we have widespread and frequent surveillance testing in schools, we won't really know what's going on with infection rates and in-school spread. School reopening has not been "largely safe.” Districts have a vested interest in not contact tracing - so they don't. Hence there's 'little evidence'. Please do not cite the cherry picked CDC data here, say “follow the science”,” or articles that cite doctors and politicians that have no clue what it’s actually like working in education. This job can be done remotely and should continue to be done remotely!

Posted by LAHscot
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Feb 2, 2021 at 12:32 pm

LAHscot is a registered user.

Read what one district is doing for its teachers - and what PAUSD's District Office and Board could do if it wanted to: Web Link

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 2, 2021 at 8:57 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Vaccinate by AGE oldest to youngest. All facts support this approach.

Posted by Virginia Smedberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 2, 2021 at 10:23 pm

Virginia Smedberg is a registered user.

Followup after tonight's School Board Meeting: The parents who spoke said "get the kids back in person". The teachers who spoke said "give us protection". Those are NOT conflicting goals! Everyone wants the kids back in school in-person. I guarantee the teachers would rather be teaching in person!! But I hope everyone also wants us all to avoid spreading the virus, AND values the health of the teachers as well as the kids.
Here's what the county guidance says about classroom space:
"Maximize space between seating and desks. Distance teacher and other staff desks at least 6 feet away from student and other staff desks. Distance student chairs at least 6 feet away from one another, except where 6 feet of distance is not possible after a good-faith effort has been made. Upon request by the local health department and/or State Safe Schools Team, the superintendent should be prepared to demonstrate that good-faith effort, including an effort to consider all outdoor/indoor space options and hybrid learning models... Under no circumstances should distance between student chairs be less than 4 feet. If 6 feet of distance is not possible, it is recommended to optimize ventilation and consider using other separation techniques such as partitions between students or desks, or arranging desks in a way that minimizes face-to-face contact." See p.21.
Here's the link to the whole document: Web Link
My concern is that the board (according to what my teacher niece has been told) has decided to use the 4-foot distancing. But she has not seen any info about a good-faith effort to do the recommended 6-foot distancing, or about other mitigations being put in place. This affects your kids, and thus you, as well as the teachers!
Also the teachers see 3-5 groups of students every day, so the kids'"stable group" idea does not apply to the teachers.

Posted by Paloaltonian
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 3, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Paloaltonian is a registered user.

And yet hundreds of thousands of students are going to school every day of the week in this country and amazingly their teachers aren't dropping dead in the streets. Why even in San Francisco 15000 students go to school daily. The teachers at PAUSD have an unearned elevated opinion of themselves and their value. Release them and replace them with new grads from college. All grades need to be in school tomorrow. The teachers will keep making excuses until next fall. Based on nothing but their lack of commitment.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2021 at 1:52 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

“The teachers at PAUSD have an unearned elevated opinion of themselves and their value. Release them and replace them with new grads from college.”

What do they value? Their lives and the lives of their family members? You don’t value them and yet at the same time you want them to go back and serve you and your needs. [Portion removed.] Worker and student safety always comes first. It’s people such as yourself demanding teachers work in person that is the problem.

Let’s see here...according to this link PAUSD is the #2 school district in California and #23 in the United States. Maybe you should be a little more grateful for your dedicated PAUSD teachers.

Web Link

The scientific evidence actually shows that closing schools leads to a reduction in the spread of COVID. I oppose the ruling class’s back to work campaign and I back the working class’s campaign to save lives.
Also, no PAUSD teachers will be replaced with college students.

As documented by Rebekah Jones and her team at the COVID Monitor, nearly 600,000 students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at K-12 institutions throughout the country. Schools are barely open.

Web Link

Look outbreaks at k-12 schools on the rise in Michigan with a simple google search:

Web Link

Let’s not ignore the evidence and pretend it’s all safe because you say it is Paloaltoian. Let’s check back in when schools do reopen more due to a government push to do so and check in on infection rates. Paloaltoian isn’t getting his day care! Over 3000 Americans are dying from Covid everyday.

Posted by Paly mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2021 at 2:05 pm

Paly mom is a registered user.

Congrats to 6th graders! So happy for you. No more bedroom classrooms and staring at the screen for 6 hours(at least) every weekday.

Time to get the 7-12th graders back to school as well! Most states have kids do in-person schools and sports. Just CA not catching up!! Read the science data, listen to health experts. They encourage kids back to school for mental health.

Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 3, 2021 at 2:55 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

[Post removed; link to authoritative source]

Posted by East coast transplant
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 3, 2021 at 10:56 pm

East coast transplant is a registered user.

“voice of PA”; you had me at Rebekah Jones. That’s woman is a grifter and a criminal! See NPRs recent story on her:
Web Link
Honestly, it’s just embarrassing that you cite her a credible source. Did you contribute to her Go Fund Me also?? [Portion removed.]

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2021 at 11:28 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

First of all, whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty.” Just because she was arrested doesn’t mean she’s “automatically a criminal.” Read more about her so called nefarious crime. It needs to actually be proven she sent the message. That was her “big crime”sending a message. Could it be that the state of Florida is furious about her being a whistleblower. Also, what she is being accused of is separate and doesn’t discount her Covid Data Tracking.
Web Link

Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 4, 2021 at 1:07 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

Want data? Let's get some data on the impact on the shutdown of schools on student-athletes

Web Link

Serra HC Patrick Walsh shares some Alarming Data collected by the Golden State Coaches Community based on 105 Football Programs .

-1087 Players Have Been ruled ineligible.
- 253 Drop outs
- 64 Student Athletes have been incarcerated , 85 Joined Gangs .
- 38 New Fathers

Of course keeping schools closed disproportionally hits lower-income, people of color, at-risk students.

This is systemic racism. Way to go Teachers Unions.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 4, 2021 at 4:16 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

1. “Systemic racism”-This is a health issue and not a social justice issue. Also, according to this link “Black and Latino Families are more concerned about returning their children to school than whites families.”
Web Link
2. “Way to go Teachers Unions”-Teachers unions protect worker health and safety. Students are not employees. 3.Dropouts/Gangs/Fathers/Incarcerations-This also happens when schools are open. How is the teachers union possibly responsible for them becoming new fathers? Is there statistical proof that there has been an increase in these activities over previous years due to school closures and cancellation of sports? 4. Ineligibility-Is this because the season has been cancelled so far and they lost motivation to get good grades or is it due to being uninterested in distance learning?
5. These stats seems to be more of a “sports cancellation issue” versus a “school closure issue.” I’m not sure if schools were open there would be high school sports. According to this link an organization called CIF is working with the state to try to work something out for high school sports:
Web Link
What does that have to do with the Teachers union? Ask yourself why there is a sudden media blitz from publications like The WALL STREET Journal about the working class suddenly having to return to work? The Government suddenly cares all about the children. Children are now supposedly safer at school than at home, both from the virus and their suddenly “irresponsible” parents. Children’s health and nutrition can supposedly be better monitored at school. Meanwhile, the parents need to return to work to ensure they can bring home a paycheck.

Posted by Trust the Public Health Experts
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 7, 2021 at 11:57 am

Trust the Public Health Experts is a registered user.

Glad to see Austin LISTEN to experts in epidemiology AND all the collective data (from past year) that say SCHOOLS SHOULD BE OPEN.

Give families a choice: in person or distance (many personal reasons why some families need to stay distance).

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 7, 2021 at 12:04 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

This just happened in San Diego:
Web Link

Key statement by their Superintendent:
Rankins-Ibarra also said robust safety protocols are in place, including temperature checks prior to students entering class, portable air-filtration systems in classrooms, spacing between desks, and compulsory mask wearing in classrooms. The students who tested positive may have been asymptomatic, which would explain how they were able to get into classrooms.

This makes me wonder if it’s not so safe after all. It also makes me wonder if there are cases in PAUSD and private schools that aren’t being reported. It also make me wonder if those so called health experts are actually wrong. It also makes me wonder if the media is promoting a false narrative about school being safe to help restart the economy.

Posted by Educator
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 7, 2021 at 9:20 pm

Educator is a registered user.

Paloaltonian- I hope you know that Palo Alto teachers have had almost no say in this process. There were the right number of elementary teachers ready to go for every child who wished to return, in spite of 85% of teachers not feeling safe about going back. Can you think of one teacher in PAUSD who was asked to return but did not? Teachers are NOT your enemy. Stop blaming them. The school board has decided that the logistics of maintaining stable cohorts in secondary schools are too complicated at this time. It has nothing to do with teachers.

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