School district's call for help leads hundreds to volunteer during omicron wave | January 14, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 14, 2022

School district's call for help leads hundreds to volunteer during omicron wave

Over 500 parents sign up in less than a day

by Zoe Morgan

Increasing absences among local educators during this latest COVID-19 surge have led the Palo Alto Unified School District to ask parents to step up and volunteer on campuses in an effort to keep schools open.

This story contains 955 words.

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Email Staff Writer Zoe Morgan at [email protected]


Posted by Dawn Asken
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 11, 2022 at 12:46 pm

Dawn Asken is a registered user.

The idea of parents helping in the schools is not a new idea. The best thing would be for all of these volunteers to get their emergency teaching credentials and spend some time covering classes.

Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2022 at 4:08 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

So much bad news everywhere with the Omicron variant spreading everywhere. It was heartening to read about these parents helping keep our schools open.

Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 11, 2022 at 4:16 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

As a retired public school teacher I've thoroughly enjoyed substitute teaching in Palo Alto. The district support of teachers and students is extraordinary and most appreciated.

Lorie Prior, the manager of substitutes, has done a superlative job in all regards. In today's Covid world I cannot imagine a tougher job, yet she's stuck with it. Thank you, Lorie, for a job VERY well done.

As far as student behavior, I've taught from Kindergarten through eleventh grade and, without exception, every student wears a mask - properly - and more and more students are wearing the N-95 series.

Palo Alto provided testing kits to their students along with on-site testing at all their schools. I'm confident that the steps Palo Alto Unified has taken will ensure that as few people as possible end up missing due to illness.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2022 at 5:06 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

How is this any different from what was a normal expectation of parents in the past. When we had kids in Palo Alto schools we were almost expected to do something to volunteer to aid in our kids' education. Lunchtime supervision (rainy days), stuffing Friday packets, helping with spelling, reading, math facts, helping in libraries, helping with drop off/pick up, lice checking, helping with assemblies, career sessions, college sessions, and a host of other volunteer opportunities existed in all the schools we were connected with.

Any family that didn't participate seemed to be made to feel as if they were free wheeling.

Is this just going back to what was normal?

Posted by Just Another Parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 11, 2022 at 5:27 pm

Just Another Parent is a registered user.

This is nothing new, why tug the heart strings? This is too much of a publicity play.

Posted by ReallyLiveHere
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 12, 2022 at 7:11 am

ReallyLiveHere is a registered user.

This is actually a huge difference. For much of the pandemic, it has been difficult for parents to volunteer, as rules barring parents from schools kept them away. We're also seeing parents used to replace staff on a large scale, rather than to supplement them.

Posted by MiddleAged
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 12, 2022 at 10:18 pm

MiddleAged is a registered user.

I agree with Just Another Parent. Parents have always been asked to help out. The volunteer requests I've seen from 2 schools don't seem to be Covid-related tbh. Substitute teaching is less of a problem now that current teachers are getting paid $$$!!! (temporarily due to Covid, of course) to step in for a colleague during their prep periods. Teachers all over the world deserve a HUGE raise. They should be getting paid "normally non-Covid" what they're getting paid hourly to step in for absent colleagues.

Posted by Judith Kenney
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 19, 2022 at 11:12 am

Judith Kenney is a registered user.

The most effective way to utilize parent volunteers is in ensuring that students' hands are sanitized every single time they enter (and re-enter) the classroom and any room at school. Younger students need supervision with this. Everyone needs to be reminded that this is so important not only for preventing the spread of Covid but also non-Covid infections. Sanitizing surfaces isn't effective. If you really want to combat the spread of any disease, having clean hands is the most effective way.

I think that providing peer to peer/parent to parent education regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines is needed. For vaccine hesitant or averse families who might have limited means, limited education, language barriers, transportation and job schedule challenges, having parent volunteers reach out to them to provide information and additional support in order to get them vaccinated is necessary to keep our scholars safely in school. Address their concerns, answer their questions, help them schedule their vaccinations, and provide transportation. Even help them communicate with their employers. It would benefit the whole community.

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