News

Palo Alto declares coronavirus 'state of emergency'

City to close facilities, require appointments for over-the-counter services

With the number coronavirus cases in the county steadily climbing, the city of Palo Alto on Thursday declared a state of emergency, joining a growing number of jurisdictions preparing for the impacts of the spreading pandemic.

The proclamation of the emergency by City Manager Ed Shikada comes days after the city canceled more than 30 events, including town halls and civic ceremonies, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The city has already canceled most of its public meetings and planned ceremonies, consistent with Santa Clara County's recommendations to encourage "social distancing."

Shikada also introduced numerous measures on Thursday aimed to limit face-to-face customer service interaction between the public and staff, including encouraging residents to call, email or make appointments with staff (the full list of changes is available here).

Shikada emphasized in a statement that the city "will continue to provide essential services and community support through thoughtful planning for several impact scenarios during this time of heightened public health risk."

"This is a fast-changing situation, and service changes may continue to evolve," Shikada said in the announcement. "We have already taken several steps to slow the spread of respiratory viruses, including limited public gatherings according to the public health department's guidance. ..."

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The Thursday declaration, as well as the new measures, intend to provide Palo Alto with "flexibility in how we can respond to this changing crisis," Mayor Adrian Fine announced Thursday. The emergency declaration, he said, will help Emergency Services personnel "secure vital supplies, funding and assistance." Emergency declarations allow local jurisdictions to activate their emergency plans and become eligible for reimbursements from federal and state governments.

Palo Alto is one of many jurisdictions declaring a state of emergency, which comes the same day that Mountain View made a similar move and a day after the city of Santa Clara made its declaration. San Francisco and Santa Clara County previously declared a state of emergency in their respective jurisdictions.

More than 20 states, including New York, California and Washington, had also announced a state of emergency to combat coronavirus.

Shikada also announced on Thursday a series of service changes, most of which will take effect on March 16. Rinconada Pool was closed as of Thursday, the temporary Junior Museum and Zoo was set to close on March 13, and all Children's Theatre performances were postponed until June. Local libraries are disabling some computers to ensure "social distancing" between users and Development Center will only be accessible by appointment.

The City has discontinued police public tours and police and fire ride-a-longs and sit-a-longs. Patrol operations are also being modified for non-emergency police calls for service that can be completed via phone or video. Officers plan to limit face-to-face public contact and ensure social distancing of six feet when possible.

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Other services that are typically provided over the counter, including revenue collections, and Residential Parking Permit programs, will now be offered by appointment, as well as by phone, email and online. And residents looking to attend Monday's meeting of the City Council are encouraged to instead submit their comments via email (those should be sent to [email protected]) and to watch the live broadcast of the meetings rather than appearing in-person.

Residents who still want to attend are asked to sit at least six feet away from other people, to avoid shaking hands and to wait until the podium is clear to speak.

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

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Palo Alto declares coronavirus 'state of emergency'

City to close facilities, require appointments for over-the-counter services

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 5:13 pm

With the number coronavirus cases in the county steadily climbing, the city of Palo Alto on Thursday declared a state of emergency, joining a growing number of jurisdictions preparing for the impacts of the spreading pandemic.

The proclamation of the emergency by City Manager Ed Shikada comes days after the city canceled more than 30 events, including town halls and civic ceremonies, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The city has already canceled most of its public meetings and planned ceremonies, consistent with Santa Clara County's recommendations to encourage "social distancing."

Shikada also introduced numerous measures on Thursday aimed to limit face-to-face customer service interaction between the public and staff, including encouraging residents to call, email or make appointments with staff (the full list of changes is available here).

Shikada emphasized in a statement that the city "will continue to provide essential services and community support through thoughtful planning for several impact scenarios during this time of heightened public health risk."

"This is a fast-changing situation, and service changes may continue to evolve," Shikada said in the announcement. "We have already taken several steps to slow the spread of respiratory viruses, including limited public gatherings according to the public health department's guidance. ..."

The Thursday declaration, as well as the new measures, intend to provide Palo Alto with "flexibility in how we can respond to this changing crisis," Mayor Adrian Fine announced Thursday. The emergency declaration, he said, will help Emergency Services personnel "secure vital supplies, funding and assistance." Emergency declarations allow local jurisdictions to activate their emergency plans and become eligible for reimbursements from federal and state governments.

Palo Alto is one of many jurisdictions declaring a state of emergency, which comes the same day that Mountain View made a similar move and a day after the city of Santa Clara made its declaration. San Francisco and Santa Clara County previously declared a state of emergency in their respective jurisdictions.

More than 20 states, including New York, California and Washington, had also announced a state of emergency to combat coronavirus.

Shikada also announced on Thursday a series of service changes, most of which will take effect on March 16. Rinconada Pool was closed as of Thursday, the temporary Junior Museum and Zoo was set to close on March 13, and all Children's Theatre performances were postponed until June. Local libraries are disabling some computers to ensure "social distancing" between users and Development Center will only be accessible by appointment.

The City has discontinued police public tours and police and fire ride-a-longs and sit-a-longs. Patrol operations are also being modified for non-emergency police calls for service that can be completed via phone or video. Officers plan to limit face-to-face public contact and ensure social distancing of six feet when possible.

Other services that are typically provided over the counter, including revenue collections, and Residential Parking Permit programs, will now be offered by appointment, as well as by phone, email and online. And residents looking to attend Monday's meeting of the City Council are encouraged to instead submit their comments via email (those should be sent to [email protected]) and to watch the live broadcast of the meetings rather than appearing in-person.

Residents who still want to attend are asked to sit at least six feet away from other people, to avoid shaking hands and to wait until the podium is clear to speak.

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

Comments

Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2020 at 5:26 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2020 at 5:26 pm
28 people like this

The libraries should be closed.

With all the computers, periodicals, work stations, not to mention books, keeping the materials clean would be impossible.

With all the after school activities not happening, people working from home but choose to work at the library for better internet, and not to mention the homeless, the likelihood of the libraries being a bed of contamination is massive.

How many people do our libraries hold? Has to be over 50 and that doesn't count staff.


Judy
University South
on Mar 12, 2020 at 5:39 pm
Judy, University South
on Mar 12, 2020 at 5:39 pm
40 people like this

PAMF - Palo Alto Medical Foundation does not, as of today, have the ability to test for COVID-19.
This is my medical provider. This is a health emergency. Where am I supposed to go for testing if I start experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?


Concerned Citizen!
Midtown
on Mar 12, 2020 at 5:45 pm
Concerned Citizen!, Midtown
on Mar 12, 2020 at 5:45 pm
58 people like this

Close the schools! This is absolutely necessary for containment. Lessons are all around us.


TimR
Downtown North
on Mar 12, 2020 at 5:52 pm
TimR, Downtown North
on Mar 12, 2020 at 5:52 pm
11 people like this

I hope the Downtown Street Team was included in the discussions about what new measures to take. Seems like they're uniquely at risk, even though I realize they already take precautions in general.


CONCERNED RESIDENT
Barron Park
on Mar 12, 2020 at 6:09 pm
CONCERNED RESIDENT, Barron Park
on Mar 12, 2020 at 6:09 pm
16 people like this

SHUT DOWN THE LIBRARIES NOW!!!


History-Buff
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2020 at 6:25 pm
History-Buff, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2020 at 6:25 pm
16 people like this

During the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-20, the Carnegie Library downtown was closed for disinfecting.


Panic City!
Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2020 at 6:41 pm
Panic City!, Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2020 at 6:41 pm
45 people like this

We’re all going to die!

I’m starting to think that coming to Palo Alto Online for measured, practical information is as useful as going to Twitter for a balanced and thoughtful political discussion.


JLS Parent
JLS Middle School
on Mar 12, 2020 at 6:57 pm
JLS Parent, JLS Middle School
on Mar 12, 2020 at 6:57 pm
17 people like this

From the above email. Dr. Marry Ann Dewan says:

“School districts in Santa Clara County are working to ensure that they are making the right decisions for their communities in accordance with the recommendations from the Department of Public Health. I support the collaborative solutions that keep schools open.”

What the heck does it mean? No data, no information! I am totally sold on that!


Palo Alto Teacher
Barron Park
on Mar 12, 2020 at 7:07 pm
Palo Alto Teacher , Barron Park
on Mar 12, 2020 at 7:07 pm
92 people like this

As someone who spends all day in a PA school I’m here to tell you the board is out of touch. Clearly none of them have been on any campus in a long time. Kids touch. Kids touch constantly. In class, in PE, at recess. To try and instill these procedures is so out of touch it’s hilarious. Do they realize there are children who have mobility issues? Eating difficulties? Medication compliance struggles???? Do they think every single child is going to understand social distancing? Have they ever even met children?


Panic City
Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2020 at 7:23 pm
Panic City, Crescent Park
on Mar 12, 2020 at 7:23 pm
23 people like this

Swine-flu H1N1 - 2009:
60.8 million cases
12,469 deaths

MSM back in 2009? I don't recall this level of panic.


Books are Survival
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:20 pm
Books are Survival, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:20 pm
20 people like this

Never close libraries. Maybe stop events, but people’s free access to books must continue. Libraries are basic to civilization and survival.
People come and go. They need not crowd. Precautions can be taken.
Don’t go if you are hesitate, but don’t demand that when we need books most - to entertain us, fire our imaginations, inform and delight us - that we should be also deprived of books.


Tom
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:31 pm
Tom, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 12, 2020 at 8:31 pm
30 people like this

why did the school board decide this evening to keep the pausd schools open? and why are they downplaying parents who might want to rationally keep their kids home for the safety of their extended family and neighbors? school districts on either side of us have closed and so did San Francisco. PA has some of the most socially connected families in the area so of course people are going to be one or two degrees of separation away from one of the 66 Santa Clara confirmed cases.

This is what was sent:

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff,

Since our March 9 update, the guidance from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) and the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) regarding school closures remains unchanged. SCCPHD currently is not recommending closing schools. This update provides some slight changes to previous guidance on educational continuity options available to families.

Santa Clara County Public Health Department is working closely to provide guidance to districts and schools. Broadly closing schools is a decision that is not taken lightly and is a last resort as it causes significant community disruption. Many families also rely on schools and staff for basic needs for their children, including regular meals, healthcare and childcare. At present time, the Public Health Department is not recommending closing schools in an effort to slow COVID-19 transmission.

We believe our schools provide a clean, safe learning environment to provide a high-quality education for all students. However, we understand some families may choose to keep their healthy children at home. Our dedicated staff is working to create flexible learning options for students to use while away from school. These resources are not intended to replicate the in-class learning experience, but simply provide a small degree of educational continuity during the current public health situation. If you choose to exercise a flexible learning option, for public health purposes, the expectation is that your children will be at home and not gathering for social or community activities.

Options for flexible learning will begin March 16th and be reassessed by April 3rd. Spring break will directly follow, April 6th -10th. All students will return to school on Monday, April 13th. More information will be shared regarding how to access these resources by each school site on Monday.

Parents opting to keep their child out of school for COVID-19 concerns/fears must provide notice to the school indicating the start date of the intended absence and the date in which the student is expected to return. Absences will be excused for up to 10 school days at a time. Notification must be sent again after the 10th day to request an extension.

Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools, commented, “School districts in Santa Clara County are working to ensure that they are making the right decisions for their communities in accordance with the recommendations from the Department of Public Health. I support the collaborative solutions that keep schools open.”

As a reminder, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department encourages preventative measures such as good hygiene practices to slow the spread of COVID-19. These practices include washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, being at arm’s length distance from others in public places, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Custodial staff at every PAUSD school continues to follow the recommended cleaning procedures daily, with extra effort on areas considered high-risk (e.g., bathrooms, athletic areas, cafeteria/kitchen, health room/nurse's office) and high-touch points (e.g., door handles, hand railings, lockers, and shared desks).

These flexible learning options are not being offered as a result of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our schools. We are simply working to identify solutions that keep schools open while encouraging social distancing, providing a safe space for children, and addressing the needs and best judgement of families.

I know that information is changing at a fast pace and I will continue to keep you updated. Thank you for your patience and partnership.



Sincerely,

Don Austin, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Palo Alto Unified School District


Staying Young Through Kids
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2020 at 9:02 pm
Staying Young Through Kids, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 12, 2020 at 9:02 pm
25 people like this

Why doesn't the Governor give the schools the needed cover and simply reduce the required number of instructional days from 180 to 165 or something similar for this emergency year only?

If that happened the districts could cancel school for a few weeks (use Spring break to make 3 weeks) and implore our teachers to make the most of the educational time they have.


Rational
Downtown North
on Mar 12, 2020 at 9:48 pm
Rational, Downtown North
on Mar 12, 2020 at 9:48 pm
25 people like this

I am shocked at the boards decision to keep schools open. I have written a letter to our principal and our kids are not going to school at least until end of next week, at which point we will evaluate. However it is likely we will not go until end of the month.

Tom, thanks for putting the Superintendent's message for all to see. So complicated! Who cares if kids miss school for a couple of weeks? I suspect it will be good for them to be bored at home for a while. And certainly will not change their life or career significantly. If someone has genuine childcare issues, let's keep a couple classrooms open to accommodate and rotate teachers.

We need to think about our teachers and our healthcare system.

Rational.




Parent
Midtown
on Mar 12, 2020 at 9:55 pm
Parent , Midtown
on Mar 12, 2020 at 9:55 pm
13 people like this

Make sure you document anything the board or DO sends you. Myself and other parents have received the rudest, grossest emails from board members. They are digging their heels in and sticking their fingers in their ears while the rest of the state actually cares and is trying to maintain this.


Parent
Nixon School
on Mar 12, 2020 at 10:42 pm
Parent, Nixon School
on Mar 12, 2020 at 10:42 pm
10 people like this

I support keeping schools open for now and allowing parents that want to remove children to do so. If the schools close it means parents who are police officers, fire personnel, doctors, nurses will be forced out of action to perform childcare. There is essentially no morbidity and mortality among kids and while they may have asymptomatic infection it has not been documented in PAUSD.


Paly parent
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 12, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Paly parent, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 12, 2020 at 10:52 pm
8 people like this

We just got an email from one of the teachers that is very much agreeing with the board's decision. I don't think they are grasping the underlying reason for social distancing (it's not about the kids getting sick, it's about them spreading it throughout the community faster) I'm not going to copy the whole thing here but this paragraph seemed more political than scientific:

At this point in time, I do not believe school should be canceled for several reasons. Many families do not have the resources for their children to not be in school. Even if students did not attend school, many would still go out to eat, hang out with their friends, or otherwise act in ways that are not consistent with self-isolation, as many students from other schools have done. Further, I defer to the expertise and judgement of Dr. Sara Cody, our County Health Officer who has maintained that schools are better open than closed. She attended Stanford University and Yale Medical School. Further, she graduated from our schools and still lives in Palo Alto. To paraphrase what PAUSD Board President Todd Collins said today during an emergency board meeting, I would find it hard to substitute my judgement or anyone else’s for hers. If she believes new evidence warrants school closures, I will be 100% behind her. If this happens, please don’t say, “I told you so.” Our professionals are doing their best to get us through these difficult times.


Should we put all our faith in at this one person? Also, resist the urge to google Dr. Sara Cody


Student
Gunn High School
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:29 pm
Student, Gunn High School
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:29 pm
26 people like this

I find it hilarious that there are schools closed down in states with 10 cases in the whole state, while Palo Alto is in a state of emergency, we have nearly 70 confirmed cases in Santa Clara County alone, and yet we still have school. Great job, PAUSD! We're all going to get sick at this rate.


chris
University South
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:33 pm
chris, University South
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:33 pm
4 people like this

The city should do a detailed survey of seniors over 70. Many of them have support from family, younger friends, or their congregate living. However, there are many single and married seniors who are afraid to go out to shop or take care of their other needs. Some people are volunteering their services to help, but the city and Avenidas should proactively find these people who are effectively isolated.


Watching
Professorville
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:52 pm
Watching, Professorville
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:52 pm
13 people like this

France closed all of their schools and universities.

Japan closed all of their schools and universities.

Italy closed all of their schools and universities.

We are 2-4 weeks behind Italy. And are testing at a much lower rate. The tests are incomplete and missing the necessary reagents. If we were testing at the required level we would see a massive increase in the number of COVID19 cases and the schools would have been already closed. The school board is literally not doing the math. What is so difficult to understand about an exponential equation? If they don't understand the equation they should not be running the school district. Governor Cuomo in NY is on top of the pandemic in his state. Our governor is MIA. We are in big trouble.


Watching
Professorville
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:57 pm
Watching, Professorville
on Mar 12, 2020 at 11:57 pm
7 people like this

4.9 million school kids sent home across the nation.

Web Link


Watching
Professorville
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:00 am
Watching, Professorville
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:00 am
12 people like this

10,000 schools across the US are CLOSED.

But not in Palo Alto.


Concerned parent
Charleston Meadows
on Mar 13, 2020 at 1:22 am
Concerned parent, Charleston Meadows
on Mar 13, 2020 at 1:22 am
7 people like this

Interesting reading: Web Link

"A former Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity, however, said that members of the school community are reluctant to criticize Austin publicly. The employee described a culture of "intimidation" in the district.

"I feel very bad for your city that you are getting him, but I don't want the board members in Palo Alto to change their mind because I don't want anyone in the PVSD suffering anymore with him at the helm," the employee said.


Palo Alto Parent
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 7:51 am
Palo Alto Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 7:51 am
9 people like this

Please stop with the anonymous gossip and slander.

I support the Board's decision. Most other parents seem to as well since school attendance hasn't changed according to my kids in middle and high school. The option to study from home has been available for a week or more.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 8:38 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 8:38 am
12 people like this

Now is the time to be rational and think how we can help each other through this.

There are people who need help. Rather than ranting on Town Square, we should be checking on those who we can help. Do our neighbors need grocers? Check by phone if you can pick something up for them and leave on the porch?

And if you don't know your neighbors, shame on you.


Jennifer
another community
on Mar 13, 2020 at 8:45 am
Jennifer, another community
on Mar 13, 2020 at 8:45 am
9 people like this

The schools should stay open, and so should the libraries. If you're that paranoid, don't send your kid to school and don't go to the library. Are you going to stop going to work and the grocery store too? All the paranoid idiots who are buying out all the toilet paper are probably doing so at a store with more than 50 people - employees and shoppers. The ignorance is ridiculous.


SHUT DOWN The City
Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 8:54 am
SHUT DOWN The City, Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 8:54 am
10 people like this

Everything except public safety agencies & utilities should be shut down until this killer pandemic subsides.

Public transportation users ride at their own risks.

Stay at home...be safe & avoid the masses. 1 out of 10 are probably an innocent carrier who probably won't get sick themselves BUT can get you very ill.

We already have too many restaurants in downtown MV & PA...if some go out of business, no big deal.

Will miss arena/ballpark sports though.


Resident
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2020 at 8:57 am
Resident, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2020 at 8:57 am
21 people like this

This is absurd. No gatherings of over 100 people and yet they still decide to keep the schools which has more than 1000 people constantly interacting in close proximity open? Why?!


PAUSD Is A Farce
Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 9:15 am
PAUSD Is A Farce, Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 9:15 am
12 people like this

>>> This is absurd. No gatherings of over 100 people and yet they still decide to keep the schools which has more than 1000 people constantly interacting in close proximity open? Why?!

^^^Perhaps best to refer this pertinent query to wizards at PAUSD.


Resident
Meadow Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 9:50 am
Resident, Meadow Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 9:50 am
13 people like this

I hope that the husband and wife who touched every banana at Safeway yesterday afternoon and then put them back on the table, the woman who sneezed without covering her mouth and nose while walking in front of me, and the two people I saw spitting on the sidewalk are all not carrying the virus.


suzie q
Midtown
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:09 am
suzie q, Midtown
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:09 am
10 people like this

As a teacher in PAUSD, I support the closure of schools. As a community that makes decisions based upon evidence, the PAUSD board and Austin are ignoring the lessons and facts from around the world. They are hiding behind unsupervised children, potential lack of meals for some, and other reasons. Why is it we don't hear of these 'reasons' at other times? Convenient excuses. How then have other countries around the world closed schools? How have other states done so? You mean to tell me they don't have the same concerns?
If PAUSD doesn't know how to handle the the above excuses, I suggest they call other states that are closing schools and learn from their counterparts.

On line learning is possible as we all have Schoology as a learning management system.

The decision is NOT just about schools. It is doing the right thing for the COMMUNITY. The community that supports schools and students when asked. A decision to close schools shows respect and concern for the larger community and as has been noted by others school closure is a way to slow the spread of the virus so that health services will not be overwhelmed.
It takes guts to stand up and do the right thing for the entire community. As we teach our students, be an upstander not a bystander when you see a wrong.


Lauren
Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:27 am
Lauren , Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:27 am
10 people like this

Another bad decision from PAUSD to keep the schools open. My kids are staying home. PAUSD can't seem to do anything right. With those salaries you expect top notch decisions being made. National Emergency coming in a matter of hours.


Angry Parent
Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:47 am
Angry Parent, Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:47 am
11 people like this

Don Austin, please resign now!


Resident
JLS Middle School
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:01 am
Resident, JLS Middle School
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:01 am
21 people like this

Just be aware if the schools are closed your child/ren should stay in your house or yard. Not be be running around the neighborhood,eating out in restaurants, shopping etc. with their friends.


Amber
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:03 am
Amber , Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:03 am
5 people like this

If you’re outraged and upset call the Santa Clara County Superintendent Mary Ann Dewan (408) 453-6511. Her secretary is nice and told me someone will return my call.


Mr.Recycle
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:11 am
Mr.Recycle, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:11 am
6 people like this

The schools are going to close within a few weeks anyway, when the inevitable coronavirus cases start happening. So the choice is either being proactive and part of the solution, or looking dumb, reactive, and being the problem that is going to get more people killed.


FollowTheMoney
Palo Verde
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:49 am
FollowTheMoney, Palo Verde
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:49 am
4 people like this

Money may also be a (reasonable?) issue.
Has anyone raised the question about ADA (average daily attendance) funding from the state? That is a big portion of the school budget. If the schools close (w/o assurance of getting continued ADA funding), then will there be a significant budget shortfall? Will they have enough money to pay teacher/administrator/staff salaries? Will the teacher's union be OK with the teachers not getting paid because they are not teaching classes?


Chip
Professorville
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:54 am
Chip, Professorville
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:54 am
10 people like this

The schools should be closed. Children are not at high risk for serious illness but they can easily pick up the virus from any lightly-affected -but-untested schoolmates & take it home to parents, grandparents, elderly neighbors, and family members with compromised immune systems. The virus is very dangerous for people with some chronic medical conditions, particularly pulmonary or renal issues, + anyone undergoing chemotherapy.
Teachers have medical issues & families too. Gunn & Paly teachers come into contact with 5 or 6 times more students than elementary teachers & risk carrying the virus, which is can live for up to 3 days on hard surfaces, into their families & communities.

Absolutely shut the libraries. People can read free daily newspapers or re-read books they already have. As a daily hangout for some unhoused / unwashed people, containing viral transmission is problematic. Are door handles & keyboards disinfected after each use? What about counters & shelves? Libraries don't have the staff to handle that duty. To those who think they can't get by without daily or weekly library visits: suck it up & sacrifice a little now so you or others don't suffer more later.

Keeping schools open as day care for working parents isn't necessary now. Even low hourly-wage workers @ Walmart, Raleys, Safeway, Starbucks, etc. are now allowed to stay home with pay to self-quarantine or tend to children if schools are closed. The list of those employers grows exponentially every day.

Web Link
Web Link

A University Hospital of Geneva study found flu viruses on paper money survived up to 72 hours, but when mixed with human mucus, one Type A strain remained active for 17 days. Some stores here are no longer accepting paper money (the bakery in Draegers, for instance.)


Tom
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:01 pm
Tom, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:01 pm
9 people like this

okay they just announced pausd schools ARE going to close after all starting Monday until the end of spring break (at least). yay! who knows what actually changed their mind but I have a feeling some of it was there communities reaction. they keep reiterating how clean and safe the school is which has nothing to do with the reason they should have shut down, social distancing


Barbara
Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:01 pm
Barbara, Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:01 pm
5 people like this

PAMF doesn't test for the coronavirus, but I understand Stanford does!!


Parasito
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:10 pm
Parasito, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:10 pm
5 people like this

Here is the email from superintendent this morning:
From the Office of the Superintendent:



Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff,

Since the update provided yesterday evening, guidance from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and Santa Clara County Office of Education has changed.

Schools will be closed to students beginning Monday, March 16, through the end of PAUSD’s regularly scheduled spring break (which ends Friday, April 10) to reconcile new gathering guidelines with the realities of daily school life.

We believe our schools provide a clean, safe learning environment to provide a high-quality education for all students. However, we are facing an unprecedented health crisis and new information is surfacing hourly. It is likely our community will be seeing many cases of COVID-19 in the coming weeks and months which will require a measured, sustained response.

Staff is expected to report to their normal work locations on Monday, March 16. If staff members have conditions that prevent attendance on March 16, appropriate sick or personal leave time may be used. With the exception of critical staff, all employees will remain on-call from Tuesday, March 17, through Friday, March 20, remotely from their homes. This approach guarantees our ability to continue normal compensation processes and requirements for all employees.

Additional communications with respect to the definition and availability of critical services and educational continuity options for the upcoming weeks will be distributed by the end of the day Monday. Staff should check their district email on a regular basis for future updates.

Protecting public health requires a community-wide response, and we need the help of families to help remain united in our response. Students should stay home and minimize social contact as much as possible to keep caregivers and adult family members safe. While children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from COVID-19, they are still able to transmit the virus to populations who are most vulnerable to serious illness, such as older adults and those with compromised immune systems. Please encourage students to avoid large public gatherings such as malls, movie theaters, and other spaces, especially those that are indoors.

As parents and caregivers, you are your child’s first teacher, and you are your child’s most influential teacher. Ongoing developments regarding COVID-19 may be overwhelming, especially to younger children. Parents and caregivers can help children understand the situation better by discussing children’s questions and concerns.

The City of Palo Alto has informed us that in anticipation of high demand, library access will be limited. We understand that implementing these changes with such limited notice is challenging and may be disruptive; we appreciate your patience and cooperation. We are grateful to community members throughout our county for their tremendous efforts during these unprecedented times.

I know that information is changing at a rapid pace and I will continue to keep you updated. Thank you for your patience and partnership.

Sincerely,

Don Austin, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Palo Alto Unified School District


Sally-Ann Rudd
Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:14 pm
Sally-Ann Rudd, Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:14 pm
6 people like this

I also support the school boards decision to keep school open, although it looks like they’ve just caved to pressure. Also concerned about the tenor of the remarks and debate on this and other message boards. A lot of panic, selective review of facts, manufactured outrage, calling out school board members who are weighing more facts than any posters on this board are aware, denigration of people with an opposing viewpoint.


Gale Johnson
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:25 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:25 pm
3 people like this

I've thought more about this lately than I ever did before. It's dawning on me now how easy it might be for me to contract the virus. I have many friends in the community from different venues but I don't know all their friends and their venues or where they've traveled or cruised recently. My friends might be unsuspecting carriers of the virus thru their friends. It's been a while, 62+ years ago since I took college level math, but I have a faint memory of exponential expansion and statistical distribution curves, the familiar bell curve and others. I'm not sure where the virus fits in with those items but I know it does and it's not good news.


YSK
Community Center
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:25 pm
YSK, Community Center
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:25 pm
4 people like this

This all just makes me cry. It's a scary time. I'm worried about my elderly mom, health care workers and students at Stanford from other countries who may not be able to go home. I'm worried about everybody. Please everybody, followed the hand washing protocol and social distancing as well. Think about other people besides yourself. Don't buy ALL the toilet paper, ALL the cleansing wipes. Take what you need for a month based upon usual need and leave some for others.


Carl Jones
Palo Verde
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Carl Jones, Palo Verde
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:34 pm
3 people like this

To Gayle and others interested in the mathematics of the spread of a virus, this is an excellent article in the NY Times about a mathematician who studies the spread of disease: Web Link
Even without a math background you can follow and understand the reasoning.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:41 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:41 pm
8 people like this

CDC reported the US tested 77 people last week in the entire country. And we have Jared Kushner consulting a FB for medical advice to formulate policy.

To call it "amateur hour" is an understatememt.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:59 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 12:59 pm
3 people like this

It will be interesting to see the state of our libraries and coffee shops on Monday and further.


Green Gables
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2020 at 1:13 pm
Green Gables, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2020 at 1:13 pm
4 people like this

Stay at home if you are feeling sick, Judy, and take a slug of NYQUIL.


Common Sense Needed
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 1:15 pm
Common Sense Needed, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 1:15 pm
6 people like this

Never close the libraries. People can choose not to go there, or to sit in areas where they will feel safe.

Or the staff can do more, such as in Los Altos where the county has large buckets of industrial type wipes (not hand wipes, not for personal use) to wipe down the computers or desk areas where people sit. It works well. The staff also goes around periodically, and wipes down computers and other surfaces, when they are not being used.

In Mountain View, the upstairs has been a place of irritation for many people, and for a long time. It always smelled of smoke, from people's clothing, or from chairs that smokers sat upon. It may have even gotten into the dust, and came through the air conditioner system. It smelled awful, and once it got in your nose, the stench lasted for hours.

But staff has never cleaned as much as they are now, and it has helped the quality of the air on the second floor that has no windows or natural air circulation. The smell of smoke is gone. People that would constantly sneeze upstairs have stopped. I know a man that breathes better and whatever used to be there before would cause his breathing to be difficult. They need to keep up with what they're doing now.

I was so concerned about it that I looked up reasons why people would smell smoke, when there was no visible source present. I learned it could be a medical condition, but I also learned that it could come from places people would not expect and the reason smoke is smelled is that it's actually there.

I kept track of where I was and for how long I was there, when my sniffer began to be affected, or when I started to sneeze. Then I started to ask if other people had the same experience, narrowing it down to the upstairs section of the Mountain View library.

All this to say there is some good in what's happening to our county right now, with us using more common sense. Keeping our immune systems up (Vitamin C and Zinc) and with washing our hands more with plain soap and water.

Keep the libraries open. We are not living in the year 1917. We are not living in Italy, a nation that did not take early precautions to stop the spread of the virus from being brought it by a hundred thousand travelers.

Our leaders acted decisively and quickly, and the result is this will soon pass.


Information we need...
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 2:17 pm
Information we need..., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 2:17 pm
7 people like this

Important things to do to protect your family and community:

Wash your hands FREQUENTLY. Follow the 20-second hand washing rule every time you wash (Sing the ABC song twice as you wash to get the timing right.) Lather thoroughly, getting under your fingernails and ends of fingers. Rinse completely. If you feel slippery from soap, you are not done rinsing. Dry with a clean towel.

Don't touch your face. I repeat, don't touch your face.

Practice social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw it away.

How to prepare your home, schools, etc. See CDC web site. Web Link

How to identify symptoms of Covid infection:Web Link

Where to get tested locally if you think you might have it.--Good question for the Weekly to investigate!


Concerned
Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 4:15 pm
Concerned , Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2020 at 4:15 pm
11 people like this

[Post removed.]


E Souza
Ventura
on Mar 13, 2020 at 5:40 pm
E Souza, Ventura
on Mar 13, 2020 at 5:40 pm
4 people like this

Palo Alto, always late to the race.


David
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:22 pm
David, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2020 at 10:22 pm
3 people like this

The Palo Alto parents pressured the school district into keeping the schools open. They don’t want to take time off to deal with their sick kids. There’s no other reason for this.


nat
Midtown
on Mar 16, 2020 at 12:10 pm
nat, Midtown
on Mar 16, 2020 at 12:10 pm
Like this comment


I read in a local paper that someone who had visited a church in Palo Alto tested positive for COVID-19.

We have not read or heard of any virus positive cases in Palo Alto. Why not? How many cases does the City have?


jill mellick
Triple El
on Apr 13, 2020 at 2:55 pm
jill mellick, Triple El
on Apr 13, 2020 at 2:55 pm
3 people like this

Where can disabled people go for a little soul food? Hikers and bikers have unimpeded entrance to all local state and national parks. No cars are permitted to park there. This means that none of us who are disabled can go anywhere of beauty


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Like this comment

Posted by nat, a resident of Midtown

>> We have not read or heard of any virus positive cases in Palo Alto. Why not? How many cases does the City have?

They release the by-city data every so often; I don't believe there is a daily dashboard. Anyone have links?

Last Thursday, Palo Alto was at 57 confirmed cases: Web Link

Unfortunately, because of limited testing, I don't think there is an accurate estimate for the number of nascent cases "out there". Anyone have links?


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2020 at 7:07 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2020 at 7:07 pm
Like this comment

@Jill,

I agree with you. The restrictions are ageist, age discriminatory, or anti disability/age related. I can't understand why the AARP and similar are not being active on this.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2020 at 11:24 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2020 at 11:24 pm
2 people like this

A month later from the date this was published, I am fairly proud of most of California and specifically the Bay Area.

Look at this New York Times updated map of the country: Web Link

We are going very well compared to most metropolitan areas in the country. Even with some missteps we are on the right track.


covidpartyatkpao
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 18, 2020 at 2:31 pm
covidpartyatkpao, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 18, 2020 at 2:31 pm
Like this comment

and people are still flying their planes at kpao. they love spreading it.


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