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The school year starts in 49 days. Board members urge staff to prepare for 'robust' distance learning.

Original post made on Jun 24, 2020

Board members voiced support Tuesday for preparing for the chance that secondary schools will have to practice remote learning this fall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 9:11 AM

Comments (123)

66 people like this
Posted by Please
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:08 am

Dear PAUSD,

Please push for as little distance learning as possible. When it is necessary, please push for it to be much better than what we got last year. There was very little instruction, connection, or support.

We can't say we were caught flat-footed this time, having had months and months to prepare and improve.


43 people like this
Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 12:00 pm

We know that its mainly the elderly that are at risk, and folks in prisons and nursing homes. With what we know now (vs. what we thought we knew in March/April), it is irresponsible to shut schools for such low numbers of folks getting sick (outside of the inmates and the elderly). Of about 360,000 covid-19 deaths worldwide, only about two dozen children are known to have died. For all the recent reports of serious complications among young people, these are statistically rare and, if detected early, most afflicted youths recover within weeks. The low numbers of children affected by covid-19 and the new syndrome should be considered in additional context: More than 200 U.S. children were killed last year by flu; some 10,000 others died from various childhood diseases. The findings from contact tracing and the significant biological differences between covid-19 and more common respiratory ailments suggest that children are not major sources of infection... so its not like kids will go to school and make all adults sick. A rare condition that is not commonly fatal does not justify keeping 55 million American students home into the next academic year. If you are concerned, keep your kids at home and homeschool them. As for the rest of us, let us have our kids go to school as normal. Nothing justifies shutting schools down anymore.


49 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 24, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Due to general failure to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines by a large portion of our community, the rate of new infections is increasing. In a couple of weeks, this is going to translate to higher hospitalization rates and then an increase in deaths.

ICUs in Phoenix, Miami, and Houston will soon be full and hospitals have started implementing contingency plans for a surge. There is no reason to believe we will somehow avoid the same fate and in fact our daily number of new infections have been steadily increasing and this is not simply increased testing.

It is well established science that schools have significant impact on the spread of infectious disease in a community. It makes no sense to accelerate the infection rate further by putting teachers and students in classrooms in the fall.

PAUSD should plan for a remote learning only start to the school year and if things turn around, we can work out a plan for a return the schools.


53 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 24, 2020 at 12:13 pm

To Mom of 3:

While children have a very low rate of illness due to COVID-19, they can still carry and spread the disease just as early as adults. Children have no special immunity to the infection.

Putting children and teaches in classrooms will increase the rate of infection in the community.


8 people like this
Posted by Other countries
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2020 at 12:34 pm

This article is good and includes a very brief review of what we can learn from other countries (a mixed bag): Web Link

Austria, Denmark and Germany opened schools in April and have not seen significant increases in new cases. South Korea and Beijing, however, were forced to close schools again because of outbreaks in local communities, and Israel put 2,000 students and staff in quarantine because of outbreaks in several schools.


45 people like this
Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 1:03 pm

PAUSD should prepare for online learning. We have no intention to send our kids back to school until there is enough data to show it is safe.


14 people like this
Posted by sallyfwood
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2020 at 1:32 pm

I have not seen one word that addresses the needs of students who need to learn differently.


15 people like this
Posted by Sports first
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 1:42 pm

What's funny/sad/interesting is that the schools are allowing athletes back to workout (under CIF provided guidelines). However, there've been no discussions by the school board as to the health and safety of the athletes, as far as I know. They pretty much left it up to the AD's and coaches to figure out how to carry out the guidelines.

Given that approximately 50% of the students at Paly are athletes, shouldn't the district show a little more interest in this experiment?

Many colleges and professional sports have recently returned to activities and the virus cases have spiked for many of them. Seems as though the district is turning a blind eye to a very big potential issue.


31 people like this
Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 24, 2020 at 1:48 pm

To Mom of 3:
Your statement 'children are not major sources of infection.. so its not like kids will go to school and make all adults sick.' is not accurate. The fact is that we don't know. Without widespread testing and contact tracing, we don't know the infection rate from children. The NIH has launched a study to examine the infection rate of children, but results will take some time to get (see link below).

I would also like to point out that, we don't know what the long term impact is to children. Dr Fauci can say it better than I ever could:

“I think we better be careful [that] we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects,” Fauci continued. “You’re right in the numbers that children — in general — do much, much better than adults and the elderly, particularly those with underlying conditions. But I am very careful, and hopefully humble, in knowing that I don’t know everything about this disease and that’s why I am very reserved in making broad predictions.”

NIH HEROS Study
Web Link


44 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 2:27 pm

[Portion removed.] No PAUSD staff member should have to go into work every day feeling like they are at risk of getting COVID. If you actually think you are in some sort of special “COVID bubble” in Palo Alto you are NOT. Do you actually really think you will get through 186 days of in person learning without infections? Do you actually really think kids won’t get Covid when they are vectors for every disease! [Portion removed.]

As soon as those school doors open and children start mixing with other children(like kids will keep their masks on and social distance-yeah right)and start mixing with people in the community, COVID will spread and the schools will have to “shut down for a deep cleaning.” [Portion removed.] In the meantime staff members and other children will have been exposed. Stop citing media nonsense that it’s mostly old people at risk. They are reporting in Texas that 20-30 year olds are filling up hospitals there. Also, stop with the “kids don’t get Covid” nonsense. Sorry...they breath air and are human so they can get it. It’s likely they were probably shielded from Covid a bit by the initial school closures. Google Day Care Centers Covid and see how many day care centers have had to shut down this summer and how many kids got infected in day care centers. [Portion removed.] The school’s main job is to educate not babysit and so I do agree that distance learning needs to be improved for the Fall. Also, like David Z mentioned, the numbers with the grand Phase 3 “reopening” are likely to cause case numbers to go way up in the community so very likely by the fall(which was already noted to potentially be the 2nd Wave) the problem might be too out of control to open doors safely anyway. That would actually give Board members an “out” since they are so afraid to deal with the [portion removed] potential parent outcry if they decide to start with distance learning.
[Portion removed.]
Schools in Australia and South Africa opened, had a Covid out break within a couple of days, and had to re-close. It happened these last 4 days or so. For all of you who “want things your way”, from the last info I read, this is a Novel Virus with no known medical treatments, is 2-3x more transmissible than the flu, and is anywhere from 6-15x more deadly than the flu. Take the pandemic more seriously please. Finally, to the school board, there is always a kind of statement that’s says something like “we take the health of our students and staff seriously.” Usually you just have to pay lip service to that. Now is the time to actually LIVE UP TO THAT STATEMENT [portion removed] and keep those school doors shut this fall and this winter.


32 people like this
Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 24, 2020 at 2:29 pm

I attended the board meeting last night and there were a lot of doctors and healthcare professionals that attended. All of them, disagreed with the Draft Elementary Reopening Plan (see link below). They cited that its model and safety protocols do not do enough to ensure the safety of students, teachers, staff and their families.

I would also like to point out a few other concerning comments from the last three board meetings and board member's social media posts regarding the Elementary School Reopening plan:
Board member has argued to reduce social distancing from 6ft to 4ft to save $2MM;
Board member has argued that masks should be optional;
Board member insisted that 100% temperature checks are not practicable;
Board's reopening plan (below) won't reduce class sizes;
Board's reopening plan will squeeze kids together (<6ft) between plastic partitions.

Draft Elementary Reopening Plan:
Web Link


15 people like this
Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 2:50 pm

Compliments to Jennifer DiBrienza for keeping her eye on the social-emotional ball, and feeling empathy for what our teenagers will be feeling if confined at home.
Kudos to all the teachers for turning on a dime to adopt new ways of teaching. It's especially hard to spend so much time at home online.


12 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 24, 2020 at 3:06 pm

An uptick in San Jose should not be relevant to do what is done in Palo Alto. There is no discussion of the lack of disease in Palo Alto. Why?


19 people like this
Posted by Paly mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2020 at 3:17 pm

If the students are in high risk or have contacts with high risk, you can choose to stay home. But it shouldn't stop other students to go back to schools. The confirmed cases and death rate are still low in Bay Area. We just need to be SMART-stay home when you are sick, wear face coverings, wash you hands frequently.....

The kids have already been miserable staying home for over 3 months. The social-emotional factor is more important than academic right now.


13 people like this
Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 24, 2020 at 4:13 pm

I see all these comments (paraphrase): Cases and deaths are low in PA. Yes, it's high in San Jose, but we're OK in PA.
On Wednesday, the US reached a record for highest single day number of cases >36,000 (link below), with Texas, Florida and California leading the way. Diseases know no boarders and the number of cases in the US, California and Santa Clara County (link below) is increasing significantly.

Web Link
Web Link


17 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 24, 2020 at 4:17 pm

Do we think all the essential workers in PA, including teachers, live in PA? That is why regional data is important, not just county but regional.


11 people like this
Posted by Covid-19 Ready
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 24, 2020 at 4:25 pm

Did Ken Dauber actually say ""I think it's really critical that we not expect to No. 1, do something as good as regular school..."

I don't know what Mr. Dauber means by "as good as regular school," but parents and the State are expecting 1 year of instruction.

Thanks.


36 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 4:43 pm

@MessiFan-Lol @ thinking PA is in some sort of a special Covid Bubble. Watch those county numbers rise these next two to three weeks including PA.
@Palymom-Great arguments. If your kid has the sniffles stay home! The kids are a little sad so let’s spread Covid! You have solved the pandemic. What about asymptomatic carriers. What about the health of the staff?
@Covid19Ready-Dauber likely was referencing that Distance Learning or a Hybrid Model can’t possibly replace a regular school day. He’s probably preemptively trying to lower parent expectations for the year because he knows “how you all are.” Stop “demanding” and “expecting.” You aren’t a customer. It’s a free public school education. Your tone is part of the problem in PA.


13 people like this
Posted by GraceBrown
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 24, 2020 at 4:49 pm

Neighbors, Stakeholders, Humans!

Want to be sure that our children and youth can return to campus in August? Wear a mask today.

GB


22 people like this
Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 24, 2020 at 4:59 pm

@John Hicks spot on.
I keep hearing this mantra from the board that we must get back to the 'old normal'. Don Austin stated, 'Any time we do something that isn't getting us closer to the old normal, we have to rethink what we are doing.' Last night a board member said, 'If remote learning was so great, we would have implemented it years ago.' We all miss the 'old normal'. We had a great educational system during the 'old normal'.
But the 'old normal' puts students, teachers, staff and families at risk. We have to find a 'new normal' and what that 'new normal' looks like will define how well we keep everyone safe.


18 people like this
Posted by Maestro
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2020 at 7:02 pm

John Hicks your commentary has left me cheering for such honesty on all fronts. Thank you.


5 people like this
Posted by Covid-19 Ready
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 24, 2020 at 9:51 pm

It's PAUSD's job to deliver one year of curriculum via instruction.

Many in this community experienced how public universities, private colleges and our local community college flowed seamlessly last spring and this summer.

That's the bar. Deliver instruction, on a schedule, with clear expectations and interaction. It's totally doable for a public school. For you and Ken Dauber to think of lowering that bar is outlandish.


12 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 24, 2020 at 9:52 pm

I am a risk consultant. One cause of this and other "opening" debates is that humans have a natural diversity in their risk appetite. This makes evolutionary sense--tribes need those who say "let's explore that new territory", and those who say "let's be careful there can be danger there" to survive. Neither are right or wrong, and the diversity provides strength and resilience. The role of government is to protect the rights of those with a spectrum of perspectives, while maximizing benefit and minimizing harm to society as a whole. The risk-takers are forced to pay for seat belts to protect themselves and anti-lock brakes to protect others on the road, the risk-averse are not allowed to prevent cars altogether though they are free to walk. Ideally these decisions are made with risk data. With Covid, the data is not fully clear yet, but there are professionals working furiously to gather and analyze that data. I say we defer to the professionals (aka public health, scientists) to make the rules and evolve the rules with more data, and we each then act within those rules according to our individual risk appetite.


16 people like this
Posted by not happy
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:14 pm

Why are middle and high school students to
be 100% remote and elementary 100% on campus ?
All students should get to be on campus.
Remote does not work.


23 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:41 pm

Some of the comments about the Palo Alto covid bubble would be really funny if it wasn't so depressing. If you have travelled outside the Bay Area recently, you would know that people here are indeed living inside their own bubble. No where else have I seen the level of living in fear that still is expressed here after Shelter-in-Place "solved" (joke) the problem for more than 3 months already. The comment above about risk tolerance is spot on ... those who can't accept ANY risk are trying to dictate based upon their zero tolerance. Better to shut it all down than accept some measured risk. Also people only see things from their perspective ... still got a job? Why do we need to restart the economy? Personally, I know that my lifetime risk of dying from cancer (something like 1 in 5) is much more than an order of magnitude greater than risk from covid-19. I'm not going to take reckless risks, but life goes on. If you are good with continued home confinement indefinitely , good for you, but don't pretend there aren't serious casualties, including potentially our children's education.


11 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:03 pm

@Covid19ready-Please take a step back and read your own comments. Do you see/hear what you sound like? THIS is who you wanted to be as an adult when you were a child? You sound so demanding. I wish I had that much power to be able to lower the bar for instruction but I am not involved. What I was saying was Dauber was likely trying to temper expectations because he knows how critical this parent group is. You, for example, had to throw in a colleges and universities comparison. I think most rational people know that Distance Learning can’t replace face to face instruction, but he is probably just explaining that to you all AGAIN. Parents in this forum went nuts about how bad distance learning was so I am sure he was sick of emails/phone calls full of complaints. [Portion removed.]
@ Maestro-You are welcome. That’s what I am here for.
@Elementary Parent-You too! I think we agree on many points. I don’t know too much about Don Austin, but likely based on your “old normal” and “new normal” comment, I would guess either he is a good guy and his heart in is the right place and he really wants the kids back at school and wishes things were normal again, he doesn’t fathom the severity of the situation, or he is trying to be “a hero” to these demanding parents by trying to find a way to get the doors open in the fall. “They said it couldn’t be done...but I, Don Austin found the way!” Really, these people in leadership positions need to take a step back and work to find more creative solutions or just be a leader and say “this isn’t safe and I am keeping the school doors closed in the fall.” I don’t necessarily blame anyone for not being able to solve this situation because this is unprecedented. But again, based on your comment of wanting to always revert back to the old normal, we often find out so called leaders with big paychecks usually don’t have the answers. It’s of course the easier route to try to have things go back to the way they were which of course right now isn’t possible. Again, I am not pointing a finger or blaming Don Austin specifically (he might be a good person), but I am just referring to so called leaders in more of a general sense.


19 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:09 pm

If half the parents want their children to go back and half want to do online, would it be wrong to have one high school in person and one online? Maybe something similar for the middle schools? Why not?


11 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:16 pm

@ Dan & Not Happy-Your comments put you on the side of the upcoming deadly second wave coming in the fall. [Portion removed.] I think it’s pretty obvious Covid will spread once those school doors open just like it has in all other congregate settings. This isn’t a “little risk.” This is potentially children and staff becoming ill and or dying of a Novel Virus. How old do you think the teachers and administrators are? Most of them are likely in their 50s. They may open the doors anyway, so it’s not out of the question that you will get “your way.” A bit of conjecture here by me, I say they open the doors and have to close back down within a week due to COVID and then go back to distance learning. My prediction is in writing here for the fall.


4 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:20 pm

@Dan
It is called safetyism. There is a opinion piece in the nytimes about it (Web Link). I don't want to sacrifice schooling in the name of safety. Yes there is some risk with going to school, but there are clear sacrifices that I don't want to make including the mental health of my children.


3 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:27 pm

@JohnHicks
I know I speak for many for thanking you for persevering. Where else would we find such wisdom? As to children dying NONE in the state of California have died yet. No one in Santa Clara County under the age of 30. Plus you have seen into the future both of Palo Alto both over the over the next few weeks and the second wave and the opening and closing of schools. Got anything on the stock market?


7 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:45 pm

@MessiFan-You are welcome Mr. Palo Alto Covid Bubble. Nice try. I stated upfront it was conjecture on my part about the opening/closing of schools due to outbreaks. I obviously don’t know for sure but it’s just my feeling. Check out what happened in Melbourne the last two days after they reopened schools. Many epidemiologists and the CDC are predicting the 2nd Wave in the fall to align with flu season. Well that’s good that the kids and under 30 haven’t died...YET. How old are the teachers? Since you are in the Palo Alto COVID Bubble and are perfectly safe, enjoy some time at some crowded bars and restaurants in PA this weekend with no mask. There’s nothing to worry about. Cmon man, I don’t wish it on you, but if it’s so safe see how it goes. That situation will kind of, you know, be similar for teachers in a classroom except they may have a little cloth mask on.


6 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 24, 2020 at 11:54 pm

@JohnHicks
I am not sure what you are talking about. I just want my kids to go to school. I think teachers should have lots of space in front of the room and hopefully some kind of barriers. I am not sure why you would compare that to a crowded bar.


8 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:08 am

@Messifan-I understand your frustration as far as your kids not being able to go to school. [Portion removed.] It’s probably not quite the same as a crowded bar that’s why I said similar. The classroom is a congregate setting, I would say maybe more comparable to a church setting. Based on everything I have read, if you were to have an infected student or staff member in the classroom talking/coughing/sneezing they would be releasing Virus aerosol particles into the air. If the classroom doesn’t have air flow or ventilation, all students and staff would be breathing in virus particles and have a longer potentially high dose exposure to it as they would be spending 2-3 hours in the classroom together. Masks could help I would guess, but I would also guess masks aren’t like magical fool proof shields either. Covid spread is already happening In Day Care Centers across the United States. Google it.


13 people like this
Posted by mom2
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:19 am

Many people (including myself) have had to continue to work as essential worker (over 50) during this pandemic. If we can take steps to keep medical staff, food workers, first responders safe, I think we can keep teachers safe with appropriate PPE. For those at especially high risk, another job (content development, online teaching) would be appropriate. There is a significant educational and mental health toll that this is having on kids. We may have intermittent shut downs and online learning but I think we need to take some steps forward to get kids back at least part of the time to in person school.


18 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:24 am

Shutdowns and a return to distance learning are inevitable. We could debate the merits of various hybrid models endlessly, but does anyone really believe we won’t need to close campuses and contain further outbreak whenever students/staff inevitably test positive this fall/winter?

We already went down the path of hoping for the best without effectively mitigating against the worst. The sooner we face facts and provide better resources and training for online learning, the better. Want it or not, here it (distance learning) returns.


2 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:35 am

@JohnHicks
Coughing or sneezing kids would be sent home immediately. I don't think talking would be as much of a problem, but that could be solved, I hope, by some combination of space, barriers, and PPE worn by teachers. I think it is worth trying.


12 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:50 am

@Mom-Power to you for working through this terrible pandemic and staying safe but why do you think it’s ok for staff and students to potentially get infected? “We may have intermittent shut downs.” That would mean there was a Covid outbreak. I never ever get why parents on here post that they want everyone to take a health risk to please them. “Well a few staff members died and about 25 kids got infected ..but at least they tried to open.” Numbers in the Bay Area are currently spiking. Numbers nationally are spiking. We are in the midst of a dangerous pandemic. The students will have to persevere through an unprecedented event. Likely the powers that be will try to please your types, make the decision to open, leading to infecting staff and children, call a bunch of emergency meetings, and then revert back to distance learning anyway (like Parent just said) and realize they made a grave mistake. We are currently in an impossible situation. Again, google day care centers Covid and see what’s happening there.


4 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:18 am

@Messifan-I know you are thinking from the perspective of “I would like my kid back in school.” That’s fine. You are trying to be a good parent and obviously you want your child educated and what’s best for your child. But take a quick step back and look at the big picture. California started the fastest shelter in place to “flatten the curve” and tried a phased re-opening plan. Now, for various reasons as movement has increased and things have opened up the numbers are spiking again at an exponential growth rate. Like you mentioned it probably doesn’t seem “as bad” in Palo Alto. But the virus is in the community and it’s insidious. Once students start moving around and returning to the community, outbreaks in schools are bound to happen. It may not be your child’s school but it’s almost like a bad lottery or a bad gamble. Basically almost any interactions right now with members of the public is an exposure risk. You also probably need to ask yourself, “Am I ok with my children potentially being exposed to COVID if I send them to school?”


11 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:18 am

@JohnHicks
Of course I would risk my children being exposed as children are very unlikely to have serious ill effects from covid. I consider it less dangerous for them than riding their bikes to school, which I allow. The question to me is whether staff can be protected. We won't convince each other.


8 people like this
Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 25, 2020 at 8:51 am

Messifan, we really don’t know that children are unlikely to have serious ill effects from NOVEL coronavirus.

Recent studies are revealing that antibodies don’t typically last beyond 2 months, and we do know the impact to organs is not confined to the lungs.

In addition to the very serious inflammatory reaction we don’t yet have a handle on in kids; we have yet to discover the impact of repeat infections, or co-infection with the flu as winter sets in.


9 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:00 am

Relatives who lived through war years, the Great Depression, or other serious hardships would be shocked by us.

Of course shutting schools down then wasn’t great for kids/families, nor for underlying inequities in society either.

We have not grasped the full magnitude of this pandemic and the situation we are in — especially in the U.S. where the numbers are THE worst in the world right now.


16 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:17 am

As someone who has both experienced Palo Alto schools and homeschool in Palo Alto, with other families whose children really needed something innovative (often gifted children with learning differences or asynchronous development), it’s very hard to see people be so inflexible about what is possible.

When you have the freedom to craft your own education - and by “you“ I mean students - it’s easier to see how to get more and better with less time, in order to carve out time for big projects, following a passion, and spending time with friends and family.

We found really stellar online educational resources for high school AP and college courses. One vender in particular, had no mandatory homework, but they had work available for students on the platform and taught in a way that made the students want to do the work.They were not an AP official course provider, but students typically got fours and fives on exams with no prep. Classes were live online and interactive with students very engaged with each other and with the instructor, but typically only once a week. This left students with more time to do their work or to take more courses. It helped that the platform they used was so well developed.

My child who struggled to write in Palo Alto classes (in part because they barely taught said child with an unsupported LD to print with great effort, not to keyboard or use cursive at all), produced thoroughly researched essays with original theses of higher quality than I’ve seen in some masters theses.The point is not that everyone should use that platform, it’s that homeschoolers were able to choose what worked for them in the context of what each child needed for their educations.

Some of the most fulfilling efforts my child was able to undertake in high school homeschool, spanned months or even years.That’s because the independent education allowed looking at the big picture of what my child wanted out of high school education, first.

I’m not suggesting that people go completely online. Typically homeschoolers have a variety of activities and classes in the real world, too, and because they have to put work into creating them themselves, the quality of interpersonal time is often higher, and it can be harder on them than even kids in school not to have those in person gatherings and classes. What I observe from this: it’s possible for students to get as good or better an education as they would in school, but with way less time, so that the rest of life can be more fulfilling, including projects and interpersonal time.

From my perspective, the district should be thinking about how to provide the education online, differently, focused on the educational content, in a way that takes up way less time. This is the best kept secret of homeschooling.

Then the focus of school itself becomes very different. Teachers can be education managers and mentors, who help parents help their kids, or who help older kids craft the educations and lives that they want. Or who help struggling students find their own paths. All of that can be done remotely.

But students do need interaction. They need physical activity, and they need human contact. But the question is, will they be OK, if we find ways for them to get human contact remotely until the pandemic is over and to get physical activity around their homes? I just took part in a music camp online, that found a way to make the experience joyful and community building. No it wasn’t the same as the in person camp. But there were some things that were better, some things that were not so much, all in all something new and different was created, and students still learned a lot, and still built relationships. So that’s one possibility.

Let’s not forget, too, that many homeschoolers find that their interpersonal relationships at home are far better when they don’t have the stresses of traditional school weighing on the whole family. What seems like a loss of interaction, could foster a healing time for many families, which could ultimately be the best social-emotional support ever, and schools could play a role in that. That is if the schools don’t try to recreate those stresses from school unnecessarily since they really aren’t necessary for good learning.

Lastly, if the educational content is delivered in a less time consuming way (again as homeschoolers learn, typical education content can be delivered in a fraction of the time in school), by taking advantage of the flexibility, then the schools are able to look at the in person time as purely about what is essential. The in-person time can be focused on building relationships, not on delivering the curriculum.

There is an independence and maturity possible from this kind of approach that is simply not possible in traditional schooling. There is a level of achievement possible from that kind of flexibility and time that is not possible in traditional schooling for most students. We can waste our children’s time now, or we can see this as an opportunity to find a new way for a better education when things do go back to normal.

The state has already given schools permission to do this, through independent study rules. But I think not every family is going to want to roll up their sleeves and be pioneers. I think it’s mostly those for whom the old model wasn’t working as well as it might have. My child’s test scores shot through the roof upon leaving school, school was actually suppressing my child’s development in many ways. That is, school in the way that it worked pre-pandemic. We always felt that some kind of hybrid between home school and school would’ve been perfect, better than school and better than homeschool. In our case it wasn’t really possible, ironically, one administrator told us that they couldn’t do that because then everyone would want to.

Now is a really good time to see if that’s true. I really think the district should create a standalone program that embraces the possibility of optimizing the education remotely and creating purposeful in-person interactions for the sake of interpersonal relationships only. Let the kids have fun in a way that is higher quality than school usually allows, and easier to do safely.

Anyone who wants a traditional education online can have that, too. The district already does a home hospital education something like that which I’ve heard people aren’t that happy about, but it’s there for people who are stuck thinking they have to reproduce school.I really think it’s time for the district to create a program for people who want to try something new and innovative. It would solve so many problems for them and for the community, and it could even lead to really innovative educational approach in the future.


7 people like this
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:22 am

@EP
Sure, we could say that few ill effects have been seen in children so far. That is enough for me. Those worried about effects that have not been seen should stay home. By very serious inflammatory reaction do you mean MIS-C that according to an article in the Merc has impacted exactly 1 child in the Bay Area and is treatable? I worry about a lot of things related my children but coming down with covid does not make the list. Their world caused by covid does.


10 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2020 at 9:54 am

Mom2 said, "Many people (including myself) have had to continue to work as essential worker (over 50) during this pandemic. If we can take steps to keep medical staff, food workers, first responders safe, I think we can keep teachers safe with appropriate PPE."

You raise a good question about the level of PPE which would be provided to teachers and students.

Schools are not healthcare settings and do not have the training, staff, or procedures to disinfect classrooms, bathrooms, or to properly use PPE. Nor is the school district proposing gloves, masks, face shields, and gowns for teachers and staff.

I have seen no plan by the district for regular testing of staff and students so that outbreaks can be monitored or controlled or any plan for quarantine of people who have been exposed to confirmed cases. In a school setting, one confirmed case could easily expose 100 others. 10 or 15 confirmed cases in a high school could easily result in practically everyone in the school being exposed.

One thing which was very clear in the school board meeting is that the district does not have the healthcare expertise to make these kinds of policy and procedural decisions. They need to seek the advice of medical professionals who are experts in this area.

I think the level of protective measures, both PPE and cleaning procedures, one would expect in a healthcare setting is a minimum for our classrooms to even consider talking about re-opening the schools.


12 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2020 at 10:44 am

Messifan said, "Sure, we could say that few ill effects have been seen in children so far. That is enough for me."

The risk our children face of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19 is very low-- agree with you there. But the data shows they can carry the virus and infect others. We also have strong evidence to show that because of the difficulty in maintaining social distancing in school settings, closing schools has a significant impact in slowing the rate of infection in a community.

Keeping the schools closed, like wearing a mask, is about protecting the whole community-- its not a question of whether you are willing take a personal risk or not.


21 people like this
Posted by Reducing uncertainties
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 10:51 am

We are in a sub-optimal situation and will have sub-optimal education for our kids. There is no way around that. Given that, I think we need to pick a direction relatively soon so that the district can plan. Without enough planning we are sure to get the short end of the stick as we saw Mar-May.

I think, unfortunately, the only direction we can pick with certainty is offline. There are too many unknowns for online learning to take place. We know that there will be infections, whether school-related or not. So we know that classes will close down and teachers will leave. That is going to ensure far too much variability and poor education if we don't have a strong offline curriculum.

So as much as I hated (really, hated) the end of last year, I think we don't have a choice but to plan and commit to 100% offline until a vaccine is around. Yes, it stinks. But hope is not a strategy.

I don't know what that means for Drama, Orchestra, Industrial Tech, all the classes that just don't work without hands-on and/or group activities. I think they should all just get cancelled. That stinks. But this is a pandemic. It is no picnic. Maybe the district can think up some fun online-only alternatives in the 6 weeks they have left.

That is my cold, hard truth right now.


4 people like this
Posted by Reducing uncertainties
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 25, 2020 at 11:58 am

I mixed up "online" and "offline" in my post above because I think of "not in class" as being "offline". To clarify: I think we must commit to and plan for a 100% online learning experience until there is a vaccine, at least for secondary school. There are too many unknowns otherwise, except that we can be 100% sure that in-class will fail at one or more points.


9 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 25, 2020 at 12:50 pm

It is the height of selfishness and generational theft to deprive kids of education in order to reduce sickness in adults. Kids aren’t seriously effected by this virus. Let them go to school, think about the future generation, not just yourself.


6 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:04 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:26 pm

Hey @Independent, how's that Dublin school re-opening plan going?

Apparently the same day they approved the world's most complex teaching plan (online, hybrid, new cameras everywhere, new learning systems, etc.), Dublin also rejected their teacher contract and their Superintendent resigned, saying he didn't trust the board anymore and they apparently didn't trust him. Read about it here: Web Link

Who figured that things might go wrong? Whatever PAUSD does, please keep it simple.


10 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:40 pm

JR said, "It is the height of selfishness and generational theft to deprive kids of education in order to reduce sickness in adults."

We must attempt to the best we can. The challenge to the school district is to provide a higher level of online learning so that our kids are not deprived of an education.

And its not just sickness in adults... its death and irreversible damage to internal organs. How many lives are we willing to put on the table to avoid a delay to opening the schools?

We also know that exponential growth in infection rate will overrun our health care system which then has impact on everyone, young and old, who needs hospitalization and medical care for reasons other than COVID-19.

And if we get to that point, where the health care system is swamped, and we have a completely unacceptable number of deaths in the community, keeping schools open is going to be way down on the priority list. So, lets do what we can now to avoid such a catastrophe.


5 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2020 at 1:59 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Get your facts straight
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 25, 2020 at 5:22 pm

@Parent: World's most complex plan? Realize that this is approximately what all universities and colleges are coming to. A backup of all online, but allowing students to come on campus if their families so desire.


6 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:12 pm

@John Hicks - it's too bad you and your colleagues don't seem to be willing to actually deliver education/instruction to students, particularly when they're mandated to stay at home. So much for claims to care about equity.


7 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:16 pm

Hey @parent - not surprising you'd mention a contract w the teacher's union. They seem to be at the root of all the problems. Too bad you and your colleagues don't seem willing to deliver instruction to students mandated to stay home, unlike ALL the CA community colleges, ALL the CSUs, ALL the UCs, ALL the private universities, and private schools as well, along w some CA public schools, and, of course, all the online charter schools.


2 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 25, 2020 at 6:45 pm

[Post removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by True Motive
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2020 at 7:28 pm

If anyone wants to know the underlying motivation for Don Austin's reopening plan, they only need to look at his tweet in response to Marin County's guideline of distancing students 4ft apart. (Actually the guideline is 4-6ft, but Austin focused on 4ft).

His response: "Marin County Public Health Department goes to 4 ft spacing in classes. If this becomes the trend, sooner beats later. It is potentially a $2 million swing in preparations. 55 days and counting..."

All he sees is dollar signs. He can save $2M by squeezing in students instead of spacing them 6ft apart. PAUSD always talks about "best practices". How is putting kids closer than the recommended distance a best practice?

So what if some students get sick and take it home or pass it on to their teachers, PAUSD is saving money! That's something he can put on his review. Can't trace any virus cases directly back to the 4ft vs 6ft issue.


3 people like this
Posted by Get your facts straight
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 25, 2020 at 10:10 pm

@John Hicks: You are telling @Covid19-Ready to "stop demanding and expecting because it is a free public school education and people who receive it aren't customers." No public service is free - we pay taxes every year to support our schools. Our taxes are supposed to go towards high quality, consistent education for our kids - we have a right to protest when that doesn't happen. We pay taxes, parcel taxes, PiE dollars, PTSA dollars. [Portion removed.] If we pay the taxes for the service, we are not only allowed, but OBLIGATED to protest when those services are not delivered. Dauber is lowering the expectations to where they are met by doing nothing - this is incorrect and should be called out.
You are correct - schools should be entirely online. You, however, have no right to denigrate mom2 for not having a choice but to go out and work - all essential workers (let us forget doctors and the medical setting), such as store workers, janitors, construction workers and security guards, don't get a choice. They are not able to collect a paycheck if they don't come in to work. Why do teachers think they have a choice? They do have the right to stay home for their safety, but then they also seem to think that they have a choice of not providing streaming instruction. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.
[Portion removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2020 at 12:37 am

@Get Your Facts Straight- [Portion removed.] Ok. Don’t pay taxes this year and find out what happens. That’s the classic PA parent thought process. “I pay taxes so I can demand EVERYTHING.” You can make your voice heard but you aren’t customers. Dauber is lowering expectations because he knows how you all are. [Portion removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Get your facts straight
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2020 at 8:07 am

@John Hicks: [Portion removed.] By denigrating people who ask for quality service for paying taxes, instead of answering the question, you show your true colors. Are you saying it is a teacher's right to have her job and be paid for doing nothing? By not answering why teachers want to both, provide little in person instruction, and no online instruction, you show your true colors. I agreed with you, by the way, that all instruction should be online this coming year.


12 people like this
Posted by Thank you
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2020 at 9:33 am

[Portion removed.]

@Others pushing for schools to reopen regardless: Teachers worked very hard this spring. I am sorry that you didn't notice. My daughter's experience at the elementary school was better than I could have hoped for. Daily contact with her teacher (using Seesaw, Zoom, and Schoology), daily lessons pushed out that were created by the teacher and teacher team, and work that was germane to the day's lesson. She received feedback and care. This was the across-the-board experience for all that I spoke with at the elementary school. We are living and combating a pandemic. Nothing about this is ideal. To keep my daughter's teacher safe, the other children in the classroom safe, the adults at the homes of the children in the classroom safe, and their extended families safe, we are HOME.

The district would be wise to create a robust online presence. They have attempted to do this for years at the high school level with Blended Learning cohorts, but nothing has stuck quite as much as I believe it could stick now.

Should schools reopen, then classroom sizes must be SMALL. There should be excellent filtration systems (which there is not currently--very different from other working environments that employ 'essential workers').

Teachers and other adults in the community working with my child and yours should not be put at significant risk so that kids can be back in the classroom for the sole purpose of being part of a daycare model. It is selfish for you to suggest otherwise.

Kids need to be in school, on that we can agree. Where we don't agree is the lassiez faire attitude toward anyone else's health but your own. It is selfish and shows a lack of self-control and discipline.


7 people like this
Posted by Roy M
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:42 am

@Thankyou. Count yourself as a lucky public school parent. At my younger daughter's school (4th grader), we found the instruction uneven among grade levels. Her teachers were among the better ones in that they had a daily lesson plan and did about 3 hours of Zoom meetings a week, but the work was rarely checked and took 1-2 hours in the day total. Then I compare this with my older daughter (7th grader) in private school who had a regular schedule, homework, testing, and grades (but no finals). Night and day. Based on my conversations with friends and acquaintances throughout the Peninsula, this was not unique to Palo Alto. While distance learning can't completely replicate the in person classroom, private schools handled it much better than public schools.

Based on my reading, this is not unique to this area. Schools all over the country are struggling with this. So, what does that mean for the fall?

The best option is to have as much in person learning as possible within the health and safety constraints. The school board is absolutely right to ask the district to have reasonable contingencies assuming that physical presence at the school may not be possible at some point.

For more on this, please read this article I found yesterday and also the recently published guidelines from AASA, The School Superintendents Association that is referenced in the article. Links below.

Web Link
Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:59 am

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by S_mom
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 26, 2020 at 2:11 pm

@Thank You - you were lucky. My 5th grader had one 1/2 hour zoom per week (non instructional, just like a class meeting) and a once-a-week list of assignments (the majority of which were “do khan academy for 60 minutes” and read something for xx minutes over the week). No feedback was given on the few assignments that were supposed to be turned in.

Dismal, and understandable why some of us are not excited about more distance learning. I hope if they go back to distance learning they impose some standards for required teacher instructional time.


9 people like this
Posted by Dewey
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2020 at 2:27 pm

You Palo Altans are something else. No wonder why so many of you congregate in this toney, overhyped community. You get reinforced by the sheer volume and weight of your complaints. Nothing satisfies the Palo Altan. "Infections are rising..! You didn't close the school fast enough." Then there's, "Infections are rising! You have to open school!" Eat each other for lunch in a few months. Maybe real estate will plummet with more...you know..."collateral damage..." [Portion removed.]


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Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by Reducing uncertainties
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:02 pm

Please talk about issues and not about people or individual commenters. There is plenty of substance here to keep us all busy discussing it.

FWIW, our experience with online learning was mixed. One or two teachers really tried, one or two sort of tried, and the rest were awol (one small assignment per week, with a "Great job!" at the end). The only synchronous sessions with the teachers were optional and a total waste of time (according to kids). My kids didn't see several of their teachers *at all*. (This was at Gunn.)

Nevertheless, despite that experience, at least for secondary school, I think we should do 100% online learning starting in the fall. Give the teachers time to prepare, and give them real guidelines, and they will have time to do a reasonable job. This is not breaking brand-new ground. And schools can outsource some of it if they need to.

If we give the teachers hybrid, where they have to prepare both in-class and online (because kids and teachers will get sick, we all know that), then it is going to be a confused and unhappy nightmare.

In addition, online is safer for teachers and they will feel better about their health, even though they too will be frustrated at having to teach online.

Finally, do we really want to have a situation where a kid in class gets sick, the whole class reverts to not-very-good online learning for two weeks (because the focus is on in-class learning), and all the parents get annoyed with that kid? And do we want to be in a situation where teachers are getting sick? No, we don't (teachers or parents). This is complicated enough as-is without layering on top all the fraught issues with covid-19.

So -- even though online learning is not great, I think it's our best option, and it is going to be better the earlier we decide to do it.

I am going to argue very hard for that whenever I get a chance.

We will probably have to cancel some electives entirely. Maybe the schools will have time to do some interesting online-only classes they haven't taught before. I don't know. It's not going to be great. But I am convinced it is our reality for at least the first half of the school year and maybe the whole year.

BTW, I recognize that online learning is particularly bad for some families. I think we can have classrooms or similar where kids can go for online learning and be supervised in a relatively safe way.


23 people like this
Posted by Need a full plan
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:29 pm

100% online would be fine, if done properly. As many secondary students and parents have stated, their online experience in the spring was, I'll use the term "mixed" so as not to overly offend anyone. Our child's teachers were, for the most part, AWOL.

But, let's say it goes 100% online. What does the district do about things such as sports? Athletes are now being allowed to practice. Are we going to say no to in-person school, but yes to in-person athletics? That makes no sense. Do we care about teachers' health, but not coaches, trainers and refs? Students, but not student-athletes? As many have already brought up, some classes can't be done online, such as ceramics, dance, auto, etc... So, 100% online is not feasible unless you eliminate some classes and extracurriculars.

What scares me more is that the Superintendent has "paused" planning because official guidelines haven't been given. So, instead of planning for most-likely scenarios, the plan seems to be to sit on their hands and wait for someone else to tell him what to do. That doesn't feel like leadership to me. As was mentioned earlier, Don Austin seemed to be eager to space kids out at 4ft instead of the recommended 6ft in order to save a few bucks. If you look at his twitter feed, you'll see how he often complains about how the health officials are handling the shutdown. He complains about lines at In-N-Out, people in the park, Ikea opening and questions why schools can't do the same. He has also complained that the governor wasn't canceling state testing quickly enough. He told the governor to leave the education decisions to the educators. Yet, now he seems to think he's an infectious disease expert and is wondering why we can eat on Cal Ave, but not let students go to school.

The lack of responsibility and accountability continues to exist from the top of PAUSD.


9 people like this
Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 26, 2020 at 4:35 pm

@True Motive I found the 6ft to 4ft reduction statement by the PA Superintendent disappointing as well. Unfortunately, he had a few other comments that I found concerning at the last couple of board meetings:

* "If a child is crying (with tears streaming down their face) because he/she doesn't want to wear a mask, I am not going to send that child to the principal's office." I haven't heard anyone advocating for disciplinary action to be taken on a kid who has difficulties with a mask, but I also don't see how a child can be at a full-time, full-size school (the latest proposal) without a mask.

* "100% temperature checks are not practicable." Not sure how I feel about this one. Kids, just like adults, can be asymptomatic. So temperature checks won't catch every case, but they are an additional safety measure to be considered. MVLA is planning to implement 100% temperature checks. So saying that they are not practicable and dismissing it out of hand, doesn't seem well thought out.


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Posted by Reducing uncertainties
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 5:01 pm

There is a big difference imo between outdoor athletics and indoor classes. The athletics will be with the same set of kids, can be very spaced out, and are outdoors, which is a game-changer as far as infectious rates are concerned.

In my opinion indoor sports should be cancelled. Outdoor sports should be allowed with appropriate precautions (spacing, coach wears mask). Contact sports need to be modified so they are adequately spaced. It may be more training than sport and there may well be no official competitions (meets, games, tournaments). But it will be something and many kids need this outlet.

At the end of the day, we need to be creative and we (all) need to be flexible. I hope the administration will stop dithering, as appealing as that may be. Take a deep breath, make a decision, keep it simple, and give teachers and parents a chance to start thinking and planning.


6 people like this
Posted by Need a full plan
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 26, 2020 at 8:32 pm

@ruducing uncertainties - I encourage you to look at the number of cases among college and pro athletes since they've returned to training. Even focusing on outdoor sports the numbers are eye-opening. Kansas State actually had to stop football practices. Medical experts are questioning the wisdom of having students put themselves at risk when they're not even going to school and not even sure there will be sports this fall.


5 people like this
Posted by Reducing uncertainties
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:04 pm

Well, the devil is in the details. Several tennis players at a recent tournament -including Novak Djokovic- got covid. Does that mean tennis is unsafe?

Take a look at this article about the football team: Web Link

"K-State players followed strict safeguards while they worked out at the team complex and were instructed to quarantine as much as possible and to wear masks whenever they left their homes. But some of them didn’t follow those instructions. Taylor said one group of players got together and played video games with friends who weren’t on the team. He said another went to a lake party where masks were few and far between."

We cannot be surprised by that. It is 100% certain that some kids and some teachers will get sick. We need to plan for that. There is also 100% certainty that some kids and some teachers will be found to have been in contact with someone who was sick, and will be forced to quarantine. And possibly the entire class too.

In my opinion, that doesn't mean that you proactively cancel any appropriately spaced, outdoor activity. Coronavirus has been shown to be very unlikely to spread in those situations. Instead, you make sure it is easy to educate effectively when kids and/or teachers are forced to stay home at unexpected times for multiple weeks, and you adjust school activities to minimize further spread of the disease.

It doesn't matter if you believe that covid is a serious illness. We need to be able to educate with both students and teachers moving unexpectedly into and out of quarantine.

That is why I strongly prefer 100% online for the first five months at least. It is going to be the least disrupted by all of the quarantines, it is going to be the most fair (with all kids getting about the same education, regardless of who in their sphere gets sick), and it allows teachers to focus on a single style of learning and presumably get better at it. Whether appropriately spaced outdoor activities are allowed is imo a completely different issue.


8 people like this
Posted by Need a full plan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2020 at 10:41 pm

I encourage you to go over to the high schools (and to Greene where the Paly team works out) and see if you see 6ft distancing and masks.

Morehouse College in Georgia cancelled all fall sports (Football and cross country) today in order to protect the health and well being of the students and the community.

My bigger question is how does the district allow sports to resume w little to no discussion yet they can't or won't attempt to plan for educating the students without a 60!page guidebook.


6 people like this
Posted by Reducing uncertainties
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 26, 2020 at 11:06 pm

I apologize if this seems to be nit-picky.

There is a difference between a college cancelling a season ("”Our Maroon Tiger teams travel to other NCAA institutions and cannot compete without breaking from social distancing guidelines still maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Thomas’s statement continued. “Sporting events also invite individuals to our campus who will not be subject to the testing and monitoring that we plan to implement for our students, faculty, and staff.”") and Paly or Gunn hosting summer practice.

FWIW, I cannot imagine that any kids will be playing contact sports this fall. I expect football to be a series of practices/drills. No games. No league competition (unless it's a really weird/modified game). I haven't seen the football practices but if they are not adequately spaced, they should be.

So I can understand the district allowing outdoor sports practice to happen. The district has pretty clear guidelines for summer camps and all they need to do is follow them. It is also easy for people to opt out.

Education is a completely different thing. It is sustained time indoors with many different kids and teachers. There are no clear guidelines and no model examples to follow. And there is no possibility for parents to just opt out -- the district is required to educate all children. On top of this, there is a wide divergence of opinion about what is best.

That is my guess as to why the sports practices are happening -- clear county guidelines the district can just follow -- and why the district is agonizing about how school should operate in the fall.

What I'm trying to say here is that the district's choice is more evident than it appears. Because of the constant but unpredictable comings and goings of both students and staff, the only way to prepare and get a semblance of a quality education is to plan for 100% online.


4 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto mother
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 27, 2020 at 1:15 am

Parents who want their kids to go to school should be given the option to set up "co op" schools with teachers who are willing to teach, and they should not have to pay tuition. Those teachers should get paid their regular public school wages and the children should get the credit for learning hours. Private schools should be allowed to open.

Many kids need in-person instruction and many families believe whatever risk is out there is worth it.


9 people like this
Posted by David Z
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 27, 2020 at 10:07 am

Lots of people saying they are willing to take a risk to open the schools.

Face coverings and social distancing keep the infection rate in the community low. If large numbers of people in the community become infected, we will see many more people who develop serious illness and we will see more deaths. Healthcare workers, the heroes of this pandemic, will be at much greater risk, and if the peak of infections overwhelms the healthcare system there will be many more people who will not be able to receive treatment for other serious health conditions.

While the risk to oneself or one’s family may be relatively low by opening the schools, not practicing social distancing, or not wearing a mask, we all have a personal responsibility to keep the infection rate in the community low.

For those of you who say you are willing to take a risk to open the schools, I would like to know if you saying yo are willing to risk your own health or if you are saying you are willing to risk the safety and security of our community and why you think you do not have a responsibility to help protect the community.


11 people like this
Posted by SL
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 27, 2020 at 11:54 am

Factors for PAUSD to definitely consider if they decide schools re open in person:
• Keeping community safer and not contributing to additional infections by causing symptomatic or asymptomatic spread thereby depleting our resources.
• So far, we have seen that children are not affected much by this infection. But that may change anytime with this virus evolving rapidly. When the CDC and infection control was struggling and had to go back on forth about releasing safety guidelines necessary to protect oneself in terms of needing or not needing masks, social distancing and how much, sanitizing, hand washing and such, there is no guarantee that when infections peak again that they are still going to say with confidence that children are not affected by this. We never know for sure that it is safe to send our children out every day and not worry about their safe health.
• Think about families who have elderly living with them, now that they are all stranded until transportations ease around the world. Think about families who cannot afford the living space or effectively isolate the vulnerable if something goes wrong.
• Is PAUSD ready to face the blame if something happens and parents or family sue the district for their carelessness, while they could have focused better on improving safety measures and improve online education?
• What about students with special needs, their level of immunity could be low. How about students or teachers with respiratory issues like asthma and allergies, how can they be protected? Will district be willing to take the blame if something goes wrong?
• Will parents have the choice to switch to another model of education if they see midway through one model does not work for them?
• How will quarantine and safety be addressed when a student, teacher or one of their family members get sick? What is the guarantee that the involved party will not be blamed?
• What would happen to the break in education when every time someone in a group is infected and quarantined, will the whole group go back to distance learning and the group reopen to in person after quarantine?
• It is confusing for teachers to come up with a consistent effective plan to address curriculum when there are so many variables. Do not add excess burden on teachers, give them the tools to improve online teaching NOW!.
• 4 ft distancing reduces cost for schools and helps with the budget, does this apply for administrative staff working from their homes or offices with separate rooms or will they monitor how 4 ft works by using our children as scape goats?

Possible solutions could be:
Couple of schools open for in person with limited willing staff and students who have to meet in person for many personal reasons. That way the cost of cleaning and disinfecting could be minimized by the district. Financially beneficial.
Train teachers now including those who serve children with special needs and specialists on how to provide quality online education with more face to face real time interactions.
Establish district wide norms and requirements each staff should follow to make distance learning uniform and successful to all.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 28, 2020 at 7:14 am

I know that if a teacher at paly does not want to follow superintendent rules or ed code they will not. If you ask them to they will be mean to your kid. If you ask admin for help, they will tell you it did not happen and they will not investigate and then your kid will be treated badly and be hurt more knowing adults will do nothing. This will also make the teacher mad and they will be meaner

They need to tape online lectures and tighten privacy controls.

Also using private internet and personal phones is a big privacy issue for teachers.

They should use the canvas platform that foothill uses and only that . Schoology does not have what is needed canvas has everything .

Kids should have one textbook and one platform. No b other links that are non accredited. Just the textbook.

Textbooks are extremely well done and not covered in normal times . If you take a paly class you could not pass the textbook general tests that are the standards. Unless you have tutors you can not take a general class and be prepared for sat subject area tests because whole chapters were never done. Rubrics in detail and extraneous Links were sent with quizlets but actual content was not delivered and reading was not assigned because it never matches the rubric .

For math their rubrics and testing was written years or decades ago from old textbooks not in use and do not match. This is an equity problem that could be fixed with simplification canvas and the textbook. Taoed synchronous scheduled lectures and teachers checking for understandin is a must and so are fair classes. This is a chance for district to clean up the mess of letting teachers in math and science make up arbitrary weird rubrics that do not cover what is needed.

So.. deliver content from the text have open ended projects related to text and check for understanding. The math and scu teachers curriculum is much much weaker and bogged down with picky rubrics and horrid time wasting power points kids need to read textbooks and have fair testing. Perhaps they should consider proctoring services or online tests at school or no tests because every kid cheats on tests.

Projects used as assessment.

Every teacher except English will need to rewrite their class. Many will still try to fit the one the did ONE time years ago or just collect random links.

I would leave and just have my kid go through textbooks if a freshman. Do other online school for sophomores and juniors I would take minimum at paly and some gen Ed at foothill to give you wiggle room or the extra study you will need because you were not taught.


10 people like this
Posted by Roy M
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 28, 2020 at 10:33 am

Just came across that the American Academy of Pediatrics has some guidance out regarding school reopenings. I will link the whole report at the end, but the punchline is that "the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."

The guidelines are somewhat involved and vary depending on the type of school. They talk in general about precautions like mask wearing where appropriate, trying to move classes outdoors, symptom checking, and testing if feasible. There is a lot more so if interested please read it.

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by American Academy of Pediatrics: Wants kids back in school
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2020 at 11:03 am

@ Roy M. thank you! You are a godsend for sharing this American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation. Grateful.

For those who may not have seen his link or read it the AAP recommendations, here is a section of it. But I recommend reading the whole thing. The AAP is a consortion of doctors, highly respected, , independent ,and dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. The AAP strongly recommends kids get back to school IN PERSON!

Segment:
"With the above principles in mind, the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of inperson learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality. Beyond the educational impact and social impact of school closures, there has been substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families.

Policy makers must also consider the mounting evidence regarding COVID-19 in children and adolescents, including the role they may play in transmission of the infection. SARS-CoV-2 appears to behave differently in children and adolescents than other common respiratory viruses, such as influenza, on which much of the current guidance regarding school closures is based. Although children and adolescents play a major role in amplifying influenza outbreaks, to date, this does not appear to be the case with SARS-CoV-2. Although many questions remain, the preponderance of evidence indicates that children and adolescents are less likely to be symptomatic and less likely to have severe disease resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, children may be less likely to become infected and to spread infection. Policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within schools must be balanced with the known harms to children, adolescents, families, and the community by keeping children at home.

Finally, policy makers should acknowledge that COVID-19 policies are intended to mitigate, not eliminate, risk. No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but implementation of several coordinated interventions can greatly reduce that risk. For example, where physical distance cannot be maintained, students (over the age of 2 years) and staff can wear face coverings (when feasible). In the following sections, we review some general principles that policy makers should consider as they plan for the coming school year. For all of these, education for the entire school community regarding these measures should begin early, ideally at least several weeks before the start of the school year.

Full policy recommnendation:
Web Link


17 people like this
Posted by Palo Verde patent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 28, 2020 at 11:36 am

I would encourage all of the people who are advocating for in person instruction to sign up to be a substitute teacher. In the best of times Paly and Gunn are often not able to find enough substitutes and teachers end up covering each other’s classes. I doubt teachers will be as willing to cover classes with the added risk of even more student contacts. The need for substitutes is going to vastly increase as teachers will get sick or need to isolate/quarantine and there will already be teachers that don’t return and have long term subs in their place. It is clear from looking around town that teenagers will not be practicing social distancing and proper mask use by that group will not be the norm. Our High School teachers will be at a much greater risk of getting sick. There needs to be substitutes in place to cover these classes.


12 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 28, 2020 at 1:16 pm

Online instruction can work beautifully. It is a question of the implementation and the degree of commitment of all concerned.

Online (both Zoom-style, educational software, and hybrid) is in use all over the world for education and training at all levels. Online received the same interest this year that telehealth and telecommuting and had many successes.

Two of my grandchildren live here but go to private schools. I always was critical of the decision to send them to privates until I saw how seamlessly their coursework continued this last spring. Beginning on March 15, both schools were up and running, and both kids were happy and working. They miss their friends of course, but the schooling seems to have gone well.

I can see that our district administration, teachers, and many parents just don't like online instruction. Like all educational activities, you get out of it what you put into it. Obviously, a teacher saying something like "use Kahn academy for a couple of hours" is not giving much thought to how to make available tools work.

I look at detailed Covid data every day (I'm a data guy) and I am not happy with what I see. Sending our students back to school this fall endangers them as well as the rest of the community. So many people have bought into the "just go back to normal and everything will be ok" and I fear that it is not true.

Be safe everyone.


13 people like this
Posted by Reducing uncertainties
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 28, 2020 at 2:09 pm

I wonder if it would be possible to have a 100% online curriculum, which I think is hands-down our best option, but encourage parents to do this in groups of 3-4 kids of the same age. Those kids would be in the same house/place doing their online learning, they could do some group learning exercises together, and during breaks would do various activities together, whether it's exercise or lunch or music or art or ...

That would help some parents (every parent doesn't have to supervise every day) and also give the kids some social and other outlets between staring at screens. Maybe the kids could be grouped into the same online "classes", and every month they would switch around. It would need to be kids that are compatible academically and socially and whose parents are comfortable with it. I would certainly be happy to host small groups of kids at our house for online learning a few days a week.

Just an idea. I'm trying to think outside of the box. I hope we decide on how/where teaching is going to happen asap so that we can optimize and be creative in ways like this.


20 people like this
Posted by Concerned citizen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 28, 2020 at 5:39 pm

As someone pointed out: "If the meeting to re-open schools takes place via Zoom for the safety of the participants, maybe you shouldn't be discussing re-opening the schools. Just sayin'."


14 people like this
Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 28, 2020 at 7:41 pm

Agreed that a return to online is inevitable.

Wish we were following Cupertino’s lead instead of wasting the next 40 days in denial. Countless hours of planning & prep will be out-the-window when PAUSD’s miscalculations have to be rectified (again) by mandated shutdowns (we haven’t forgotten our Board voted to remain open on the eve of spring’s shutdown.)

We are heading down the same I’ll-fated path.

Will classroom placements be made based on each family’s preference for live vs. online? What a mess that will be two weeks after the school year starts, & everything returns to fully online anyway.


9 people like this
Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 28, 2020 at 8:54 pm

@Concerned Citizen,
Exactly! I wouldn't be surprised to see the board vote to have students return to school, even if it's part-time, and still hold board meetings virtually or without the public.


16 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 28, 2020 at 11:06 pm

Please let me translate the American Pediatrics Recommendation: Hi. We are pediatricians that give basic medical care and also parents so let’s throw our two cents in to back up other parents. We have no real idea about the dangers of this Novel Virus but we also know kids need the day care and free meals. Most families are a disaster nowadays so teachers should go into the room with a flimsy cloth mask that only provides 33%-50% protection from virus transmission. As they fear daily for their lives and health, teachers can then hope everything just happens to go perfectly for 186 school days so that they can provide babysitting services and a little education without catching a disease that can kill them and also kill their family members when they go home at night. Kids will follow all rules like social distancing, keeping their masks on at all times, and kids also won’t mix in with other kids or families after school and they will just go straight home to their rooms. Kids always follow the rules, so don’t worry teachers and staff, having testing and contact tracing in place aren’t necessary(and who really wants those annoying daily temperature checks?)let’s all just wing it this dangerous school year and hope for the best. Almost nobody displayed any perseverance when schools had to shut down for a couple of months, since schools are now responsible for also parenting children, so let’s all go back to normal while the pandemic in the USA is actually getting worse by the day. Let’s also cross our fingers and try to get through a dangerous fall and winter marked by the experts as the possible 2nd Wave of the pandemic that will coincide with the flu season. Teachers you had a good run...it’s time to get in there and sacrifice yourselves as the spread is inevitable but MAYBE it will be mitigated. Yay. Thanks! From your friends at the AAP.
A Godsend...lol The pediatricians agreed with my take on this situation so what a godsend. If you read the whole link they also said Covid breakouts will be inevitable but I guess that’s just a little collateral damage for some of you.
Here’s the latest DATA AND FACTS about Covid from Florida: Infants and young children are rapidly catching the coronavirus and increasingly ending up in the hospital this month, according to an analysis of data from the Florida Department of Health. Since June 1, more than 1,100 children ages 4 and younger have been diagnosed with the coronavirus — accounting for 70% of the total cases in the age group.
While more testing has been opened up to younger people this month, emergency department visits and hospitalizations have dramatically increased in June. More than half the total reported emergency department visits for the state’s youngest have come this month. And 40% of the hospitalizations of children up to 4 have come since June 1. Florida hospitals are reporting about 34% capacity of their 620 pediatric intensive care unit beds, according to Florida Agency for Health Care Administration data Friday afternoon.
Kids don’t get it though...they are immune. Sure. Already the pediatricians were wrong. This isn’t the sniffles. This is a Novel Virus. [Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 28, 2020 at 11:36 pm

While I do not agree with the recommendation in the guidelines for return to school published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is clearly an important document in this debate and should be read by anyone who cares about this issue and should be required reading for the school board.

Let's be clear though- this is a guideline- a set of recommendations. This document is not itself science or data. This is not a scientific study and no actual data to back some of the claims used to justify the bold statements about low levels of risk are provided. Nor are there any references to any studies provided.

The document begins with key principles upon which the guidelines are based. For example, one of the principles:

"It is critically important to develop strategies that can be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission in the school and throughout the community"

But later in the document, when addressing testing students for COVID-19, there is no actual recommendation to test students or not to test students. Basically, all the document says, with regard to testing, is if a student tests negative, it doesn't mean the student can't get sick later. This is a major flaw in the guidelines and compromises one of the fundamental principles upon which the recommendations are made since we cannot know if our strategy is working if we do not monitor the level of infection among the student body.

Here is almost all of what the document says about virologic testing (nasal swab):

"Testing all students for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection prior to the start of school is not feasible in most settings at this time. Even in places where this is possible, it is not clear that such testing would reduce the likelihood of spread within schools. It is important to recognize that virologic testing only shows whether a person is infected at that specific moment in time. It is also possible that the nasal swab virologic test result can be negative during the early incubation period of the infection. So, although a negative virologic test result is reassuring, it does not mean that the student or school staff member is not going to subsequently develop COVID-19. Stated another way, a student who is negative for COVID 19 on the first day of school may not remain negative throughout the school year."

The bedrock of these guidelines is the assumption, and I mean assumption as in "a thing that is accepted as true without proof", that children do not spread this disease. The authors say there is "mounting evidence" regarding the role children and adolescents play in transmitting COVID-19, but they do not cite any of this evidence. They go on to say, "Although children and adolescents play a major role in amplifying influenza outbreaks, to date, this does not appear to be the case with SARS-CoV-2." And finally they conclude with a very strong statement (sarcasm), "...children may be less likely to become infected and to spread infection." MAYBE... but in fact we do not yet know if they can spread the disease.

One of the reasons we are not sure about this is because across the United States, we closed our schools early in the outbreak and haven't reopened since. So we don't know what happens with COVID-19 among youth in the schools. We do know, as the Academy states, that schools play a major role in influenza outbreaks, we just don't know if that is true for COVID-19.

But there are some studies which have been done in other countries.

The NY Times published an article on May 5, 2020, "New Studies Add to Evidence that Children May Transmit the Coronavirus". link: Web Link

Two studies are referenced in the article. One of the studies done in Shanghai showed that children were 3x times less likely to become infected than adults, but that on average the children had 3x as many close contacts in a school environment, compared to an adult, which essentially averaged to the same risk of infection. And this is really the problem with the school environment. It is much more dense in terms of social contact than an office environment, grocery store, or even the beach.

The second study, from Germany, tested the viral load in children who tested positive for the virus and found that while the children were asymptomatic, they presented the same viral load as adults who tested positive.

Two weeks after schools were re-opened in Israel, many were shut down because of the spread of COVID-19 among teachers and students and a spike in new infections among the population in some schools.

From the Jerusalem Post on June 10, "Now, thousands of children are in isolation after classmates or teachers became infected with COVID-19. The Education Ministry reported on Wednesday night that there are 433 sick students and teachers, and 23,969 in isolation. Some 144 schools are closed." link: Web Link

Bottom line-- it is too early to draw a conclusion that children cannot spread this disease or to be able to adequately assess the risk to the community and to the adults working in the schools. It would be more prudent to wait until the data is more clear or we see what happens in areas where schools re-open before we do.




8 people like this
Posted by Textbooks
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 29, 2020 at 1:30 am

Online or offline the bigger problem is that no one will look at enforcing old or new policy. There are too many ways children can will hold the burden of this all now. There needs to be confidence and clarity instead there is fear and too many ideas.

They must use canvas only instead of all the platforms

Textbooks should be assigned and used so parents can easily hep kids without tutors . No one should have to sign into multiple sites on different platforms

Also. Kids on a computer are not always doing work. ( yes it is true)

Another big reveal is that the teachers are not smarter than the accredited books and neither are their links or rubrics . They need to adhere to them now to ensure accreditation . Assigning chapters to read at home rather than random links would greatly reduce screen time


2 people like this
Posted by Jordan James
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 29, 2020 at 7:48 am

[Post removed.]


33 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 29, 2020 at 2:35 pm

As a parent and a teacher, I see both sides. Of courseI want my child in school. But, as a teacher, no way am I going back into the classroom. Not because I'm lazy, not because I'm independently wealthy, not because I don't care about students, but because to return to the classroom would be irresponsible behavior and would put two communities (I live in a different county, as many of us do), my family, and myself at risk. And, for what? So I can deliver subpar instruction (no group work, no partner work, constantly interrupting the lesson to police kids about their masks, and they can't really hear me with my mask and face shield on, anyway) in a high anxiety atmosphere for about 6 weeks (just my prediction) until there is an outbreak and school is forced to close?
Instead, I could deliver supbar instruction (yes, you read that correctly, instruction this year will be subpar whether it's delivered in person or remotely, because we are not operating under normal circumstances with normal resources -- obviously) remotely in a way that protects two communities in two different counties from a potentially very serious illness.
Let's face it, this academic year will not reflect my best work, whether we are in person or at home, no matter how hard I try. Because we are all in the middle of a GLOBAL PANDEMIC and we can't escape having to accept compromises in our otherwise privileged lives. PAUSD has to make a choice as to what their compromise will be: 1) the quality of the instructional experience (which I can assure you will be compromised either way) or 2) the health and safety of its teachers and parents (assuming the "kids don't really get sick" theory holds true). So far, they appear to have chosen option #2. I try not to feel insulted.
And I tell myself that the district can keep clinging to the dream that they can pull this off, but they won't be able to. Have they ordered my face mask yet? Have they ordered gloves and masks and hand sanitizer? Because I sure wasn't able to get any of those things from them last March. Have they started moving half the desks out of each classroom? Are they taping the floors of each classroom with placeholders 6 feet apart, even though experts say 10 feet is better, but I heard the district thinks 4 feet would save money? Are they replacing our HVAC system which hasn't worked properly for over a decade? Have they hired additional custodians and substitute teachers? Do they have a plan for the bathrooms? I try not to worry that they've chosen to force me back into the classroom (they aren't allowing any teacher to take a leave of absence -- I checked) because the current hybrid plan is impossible and will never come to fruition. And then I see the rising number of cases.
Unfortunately, the longer PAUSD waits to "decide" to succumb to the inevitable online scenario that NONE of us are excited about, the worse the quality of the online program will be. Instead of hiring someone to train teachers how to teach online, instead of figuring out how to get books, laptops, and internet access into the hands of every single student, instead of giving teachers time to set up a video-ready "classroom" from our garages, basements, laundry rooms, and dining rooms, instead of exploring more creative solutions, the district is wasting precious time trying to pander to the demands of an entitled parent community struggling to accept that they, too, along with the rest of the world are going to have to compromise.
Your kids' school year is not going to be great, your kids are struggling emotionally -- we all are. But the quickness with which the "schools must open in person" camp is willing to expose teachers (and by extension, our spouses, friends, and parents -- perhaps even our own children if the "kids don't really get sick" theory doesn't hold) to 140+ teenage potential COVID carriers each day is... worrisome.
What I find really disheartening is not just that the school board and superintendent don't seem to care about teacher safety, or that PA parents are so committed to avoiding compromise when it comes to your children's education that your ability to deny what seems reasonably likely (at least a few teachers will get infected, and at least some teenagers will infect their parents, who will then infect others) is so honed that you can convince yourselves that I should go back into the classroom. The really alarming part is that because you are so averse to compromise, at the same time you are insisting that teachers go back into their classrooms, you are allowing your kids to have playdates and sleepovers because they are lonely and sad and struggling. You are allowing your teenagers to go to the mall and ride in shared cars with their friends. You look the other way when your teenager sneaks off to "visit" his/her boyfriend/girlfriend. You and your spouse still do date night at your favorite restaurant because..it's open! You will still take your family on a summer vacation because you are lonely and sad and struggling and stressed and...summer! And you will continue to do these things during the school year as well, because, let's face it, the idea of "sheltering in place" and "quarantining" and limiting our social circles for an entire year is TOO HARD -- I get it. It IS too hard. I don't blame you for wanting any and every slice of normal life you can get. I want those things too. And WE CAN ALL HAVE THOSE THINGS if we agree to compromise on our vision of our children's schooling. If schools are online, you can have your (outdoor) dinner date, your kids can have playdates, your teenagers can see their closest friends, you can see your parents -- all without putting teachers and everyone connected to us at risk. And that means I can have those things too, because I'll be exposing myself and my family to 10 or 15 precious people who I will put in my "Corona bubble" instead of exposing myself and my family to 140+ teenagers and the incalculable other contacts they have in any given day.
So unless you are willing to stay home, not see your parents, not allow your kids to see any other kids outside of the school day, not go to anyone else's home, give up date night, forego vacations, and keep your high schooler who has been placed in "group A" away from their best friend who has been assigned to "group B" and give up all the other things that would keep ME and MY family safe, I'll see you online in the fall or not at all.


9 people like this
Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2020 at 3:39 pm

As a family who both schooled and homeschooled (high school) in Palo Alto, I do want to reassure everyone that a semester at home is not going to hurt anyone (who isn't otherwise compromised, such as without technology to get connected or a teacher monitoring their educations) and can even be a blessing, if it's done right. My kid's test scores went way, way up upon leaving the district for homeschool, and I think it was mainly sleep, independence, and having the time to read. The scores went up before most of the learning had happened.

When the lockdowns began, my homeschooled senior was taking a full load including AP's, and the in-person classes simply went ontline without missing a beat. There's a different attitude when everyone is self-directed, but that isn't something in these kids' genes, it's what they learn to do to make the best use of an independent education. Independence is taught/learned, it's not innate. (I"m afraid the schools were doing the opposite of that to my child, unfortunately.)

If the state would provide some leeway to districts, it might be possible to really, really think outside the box and optimize kids' educations for those who just aren't on board with going back. I really do think the district should create a distinct program for those able to be flexible, and who might be looking for something different. Create a fully-functioning homeschool public program like Fremont has. (If anyone has a relationship with Denise Hermann still, maybe she would help offer advice.)

The teachers shouldn't have to be creating online content from scratch. There are organizations for online educations, and accredited online providers who do a great job. Helping students who are engaged in independent study also usually involves guidance for parents as well, so in that respect, teachers and parents both become partners in managing education rather than teaching.

In-person time at school really should be for the purpose of building interpersonal relationships in a way that cannot be done online. If the district can focus just on that, it should be more doable than trying to do all of school online.

I know we don't like to think of doing anything differently from one student to the next, but some families will face hardships if school goes back in person and other if school stays online and even a hybrid. But in each case, any of the above could solve problems for families. I do think it's a mistake to try to do one thing for everyone. That's what homeschoolers discover -- it's a lot easier with better outcomes if education can be tailored to children. it's a lot easier than you would think.

When we homeschooled, we learned a lot about what is possible that we never dreamed could be when our child was in school. This is an opportunity for both teachers and students here to benefit.

It's probably not too late to enroll in Ocean Grove, which is a public K-12 homeschool charter. Students get to work with teachers, teachers help parents help their kids, families get some funds to pay for vetted educational partners,
and your child gets a public school transcript and official a-g credit. There is a waiting list but they do their best to enroll the waiting list who are still interested by fall. Your child gets help crafting their own education. Our child's homestudy teacher was an experienced public school and independent study teacher, who said "I don't know why every district doesn't do this"

It's not for everyone, but if those who want to try that kind of thing have a positive outlet, then those who are left will be easier to provide for what they need.


12 people like this
Posted by Onrosewood
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2020 at 3:42 pm

So many comments here, so many opinions, yet all are from parents and other adults. Has anyone asked the students who are the actual canaries in this coal mine? Especially high schoolers. My Paly rising senior told me recently that for the first time, she is looking forward to returning to high school because of the hybrid model. This spring was the only time in high school that she got enough sleep, ate regularly, had little anxiety, and was not stressed every single day. She was a different person. It made her realize how unnecessarily pressured school has been & the toll it takes on her and her friends. She has asked me why the district, the school and teachers have failed to see that the traditional model is destructive. Her answer - "because they don't care." Now we adults are debating re-starting all of that, with added duress. Will kids learn (much less thrive) if they're scared, policing each other, stressed at trying to figure out how to be 6' from everything, all the time, or yelled at by tense teachers who will all, inevitably, have different micro-practices and rules. How much are we asking of these teenagers, not to mention the younger, less independent kids. For too long we have accepted school at the cost of their mental health. Are we really doubling-down on that? And, potentially, however remotely, adding their physical health to the price they pay?


9 people like this
Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 29, 2020 at 3:47 pm

@Teacher [Post removed.] The school board, superintendent, and parents - all selfish and self-absorbed, trying to get teachers to, well, teach. Sure the state and public health department say that kids should go back to school, and almost every country in Europe and Asia are already doing it - but hey, @Teacher won't be able to stay home.

If particularly high school teachers had delivered something decent in the spring, you'd probably get more support. But most just mailed it in, just posting assignments and letting the kids figure it out (or not).

Now I hear that teachers want to work at home for distance learning, because, hey, don't they trust us?? Ahem, no, not really.

Sorry you chose to work in an essential industry, with responsibility for teaching the next generation. How about you check in with the other essential workers, who have been actually going to work and serving the public for MONTHS that, hey, don't they realize they are putting themselves at risk? Grocery store guy, are you nuts? Bus driver, what are you doing? Health care orderly, didn't you hear - you shouldn't have to accept any risk! It's just a JOB for heaven's sake.

Good to know where our teachers are coming from. [Portion removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 29, 2020 at 4:42 pm

[Post removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by Teacher2
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 29, 2020 at 4:42 pm

@Fairmeadow

We absolutely are an essential industry...that can be done from home. If grocery store clerks and the other aforementioned essential businesses could provide their services from home, I'm sure they would. Furthermore, a classroom (small, lacking ventilation, etc), is an extremely different environment from the others mentioned; we are at a much higher risk for contracting the virus.

Second- this spring was emergency learning. We were given zero training, time, leadership, or direction. Many "mailed it in" because they had no other choice given the constraints. We could do a much better job if given the respect, time, resources for the fall.


7 people like this
Posted by Reducing uncertainties
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 29, 2020 at 6:10 pm

I strongly agree with both teachers. They are right.


19 people like this
Posted by Just another teacher
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 29, 2020 at 6:24 pm

I am a veteran PAUSD teacher and I treasure my students and their families. I also treasure my work teaching in a classroom setting - it is work that has brought me rewards for which I am profoundly grateful. I do *not* treasure the notion of risking my life, the lives of my loved ones (I also live in a different county), nor the lives of my students and their families, in order to undertake an extremely ill-advised course of action in resuming school, in the hopes that things can "get back to normal."

The situation is not "normal." It will not be "normal" again for a very long time, if ever. The coronavirus pandemic is changing global history and is irrevocably changing the way we live our lives, the way we make our way through the world, and yes, the way we educate our children , all as I type these words, and the gravity of the situation is almost impossible to overstate. Here in the US we have largely failed to mitigate, contain, or effectively control the spread of this virus, and until we do, it will continue to get worse, in exactly the ways we are seeing right now. Resuming the congregate setting of the school environment at a time when the exponential spread of the virus appears to be threatening the stability of our health care systems in many states is, to put it simply, madness. We are seeing now, in states across the south and west, the drastic and disastrous consequences of "re-opening" too early and people going back to "normal." More than 125,000 people have died and we are still at the very beginning of this pandemic. People are acting like we're in the bottom of the 8th inning and the home team is in the lead - we are actually at the top of the 2nd inning and the game is very much up in the air.

The activities we engage in at school on a daily basis are clearly in the category of very high risk for transmission of the virus. If we can approximate (not duplicate, because nothing can duplicate the complexity and richness of the personal exchange in the classroom environment) instruction in an online setting, why would we NOT do that in order to spare everyone in our community the risks inherent in returning to the school environment in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic that is just now in its opening phase? To insist on returning to "normalcy" at this time is profoundly dangerous thinking that will end up costing lives.

The vast majority of teachers in PAUSD are doing a great job under very trying circumstances. It is disheartening to see comments that consistently accuse us of the exact opposite. Given the proper resources and planning time, the vast majority of us will work as hard as possible to create the best online learning experience we can for our students in this difficult time. What does not help is a steady stream of commentary on forums like this one that constantly degrade us as we seek the best, *safest* possible way forward for us, our students and their families, and our families and loved one. Yes, we have families that we care about too, including children and older parents/grandparents, and we do not want to endanger any of them in an unnecessary fashion. A return to school at this point is exactly that: an unnecessary danger, to all of us, *to our entire community.*


15 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2020 at 6:39 pm

Here's a NY Times [opinion piece]:

Title: Remote School is a Nightmare. Few in Power Care

Web Link

Put this together with what we know about learning loss (and catching up once you are behind) and the learning implications are a Grade A Emergency facing our country.


16 people like this
Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 29, 2020 at 7:21 pm

@Teacher 2,
Are teachers now getting any training, time, leadership or direction? It's inevitable that the fall will look an awful lot like this past spring. I believe the teacher's union has only asked for 3 days of training which will occur immediately prior to the start of the school year.

That doesn't seem to be nearly enough training, time leadership or direction to make marked improvements.

[Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 29, 2020 at 7:56 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Reducing uncertainties
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 29, 2020 at 9:55 pm

[Portion removed.]

@Onrosewood, I did ask my kids and both are fine with 100% online learning for the first semester. Based on what they know, one said he would assume that is what we are doing anyway. (He was surprised we were even thinking of other options.)

@Sally, yes, this pandemic and our response to it has been a "nightmare" in more ways than one. Health, economy, education, mental health, you name it. I think we need to give our teachers and our kids and ourselves some stability next fall because "normal" is a ways off. Cycling back and forth unpredictably between online and in-class helps no one.

There have been four confirmed positives in 94306 in just the past few weeks. What will it look like in the fall and winter?


20 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:31 am

@ Samuel L: No. Technically none of the teachers are paid to work over the summer so summer training would have to be optional. However, I know many of us very much want to be taught how to do a better job creating and teaching an online course. I'm not sure if the district has the right people to do that training, so I have low expectations as to what we can accomplish in three days immediately before school starts. I sincerely wish that they were putting their energy and resources toward actually creating and teaching us how to create a "robust" online program rather than promising it, giving us no tools to deliver it, and then letting parents like @parent of 2 blame us for not delivering.

@parent of 2 in Fairmeadow: Perhaps you don't realize that we were given no notice, no time to prepare, no training, no way to distribute books to students (so....no instructional materials), and no schedule. We were told we could not require students to purchase books or materials, and we weren't allowed to go back to our classrooms to get any materials or supplies we might have left behind since we initially thought we'd be back in three weeks.

We were not allowed to require students to be online at any particular time for live sessions. First we were told we could use Zoom, then we were told we couldn't, then suddenly we could again. Of course most of us didn't know what Zoom was, much less how to use it. We were told we couldn't record Zoom sessions for students who missed the live sessions because of privacy issues, then we were told we probably could, but no one was sure.

Oh, and while we were teaching from our closets, garages, and laundry rooms, we were also grocery shopping for our elderly parents and homeschooling/supervising our own children.

So....maybe you could cut us a break.


12 people like this
Posted by Not understanding
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 30, 2020 at 1:12 am

Which local high schools have already announced that they are moving online in the fall? Why so much debate in PAUSD? Take a look at Dr. Skelly's plan for SMUHSD. Why can't we do that? And San Mateo County has fewer cases than we do, so why would we think that we in PA are immune to the risks of reopening schools?


1 person likes this
Posted by The CTA is driving
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 30, 2020 at 8:16 am

San Mateo, Sequoia, other high school districts - all getting bullied into submission by their teachers unions, who are basically threatening to sick out if required to actually teach students in person.

They've got the districts right where they want them - get a doctor's note saying you are "at risk," take paid medical leave for a few weeks, can't be fired even then. And where would replacements come from - they can't get that many substitutes, and there aren't enough teachers out there to replace them. It's their way or the high way. At a recent board meeting, the head of the Sequoia union said that over half of their members planned to do this.

Funny, almost all of Europe and Asia are back in school already, but not here.

PAUSD will have to knuckle under too - remote learning, brought to you by the California Teachers Association!


2 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 30, 2020 at 8:40 am

@The CTA is Driving,

Remote learning would be OK if the teachers were to take it seriously and actually do it. We will see if the board finds a way to hold them to do it.


22 people like this
Posted by PAUSD Teacher
a resident of Greene Middle School
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:19 am

It is so disheartening to see so many negative comments about teachers and unions on here. CTA is driving this? Really? Do you think that us teachers are in some evil cabal?! No, we just don't want to die or expose our families and communities to a NOVEL virus if we don't have to. Us PAUSD teachers changed everything that we do on a dime, followed district directives, got in line, and did a pretty good job for our students.

I had never used zoom before and within a week I was zooming with my students everyday and providing rich learning opportunities with feedback. All parents that I communicated with were appreciative of our efforts and understood that things change a bit during a pandemic (which we are still in BTW).

Please know that we want to teach and work hard. We also don't appreciate being disparaged by people who may not know what they are talking about or people who are just anti-union. I welcome your feedback.


12 people like this
Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:27 am

@rsmithjr - I agree, although I'm beginning to believe that the blame is to be equally distributed between the teachers and the district. The MOU between the two of them calls for only TWO days of training. Those two days will include training on "Blended Learning, Flipped Classrooms, Schoology, Google Classrooms, or other content or delivery models identified as helpful to instruction that the District is able to provide."

Teachers should already know how to do most of that given the experience in the spring. None of this seems to be helping anyone to develop better online lessons. This is all organizational stuff for the most part.

Don Austin has said the district is pausing their planning for the fall term until they hear something from the state regarding guidelines. In the meantime it appears they'll be sitting around with their thumbs up their a$$.

Other districts are actually making plans, and backup plans.

The district and the teachers do not seem to be on the same page.


6 people like this
Posted by SpED Staff
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2020 at 10:38 am

Naturally during these conversations, the SpED kids are mostly an afterthought. The unfortunate reality is that this population of children will not be able to follow the social distancing and mask mandates. The staff that work closely with these children are at extreme risk; especially those that work with the most severe populations. They will be constantly exposed to bodily fluids and will be 100% unable to practice any sort of social distancing. No matter the amount of PPE that is available, I would not feel comfortable working in such an environment, especially with the release of recent data citing an increase in cases in Santa Clara County. I love the children and understand the remote learning/Zoom meetings are less than an ideal method of instruction for this population, but it seems like PAUSD has a shaky plan at best on how to proceed forward with SpED staff and students. I don't think SpEd staff or students would be safe if things went back to the "old normal."


2 people like this
Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:35 am

I actually like the idea of some schools open, and others only as offline teaching (not to mention resources for homeschooling). Not every household can afford a parent to stay home to supervise a child. At the same time, by allowing students to study at home, this lowers the exposure to *households* to the virus.

I don't see how CoVid is a special case when kids are the ones in a household most likely to introduce colds, influenza, and the like, to the family. IMO, An error people make when assessing CoVid is the failure of discussion how contagious it is *within a household*. Entire families have been infected with the virus, especially since it's asymptomatic. When one person has CoVid, the likelihood of someone in the same household contracting CoVid rises dramatically. For households with grandparents and parents with diabetes, obesity (one-third of Americans are obese), or another pre-existing condition, that is something important to consider.

If I were parent, I'd like my child's chances to be healthy through an epidemic not to be minimal, or low. I'd like it to be none whatsoever. With the internet, kids already are offline learning and I've read plenty of positive articles on homeschooling. As an adult, I've learned and had to learn more by actively learning on my own, rather than in a classroom.


20 people like this
Posted by Another Teacher
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:47 am

To be clear, teachers will literally get sick and not be able to work. It won't be some elaborate play for union supremacy - it will be a true health crisis and sub shortage if a single confirmed case arises at a school site. With the rotating schedule, one student or teacher could potentially expose two hundred others in a single day. I actually have no interest in sharing my confidential medical information with my district to explain why I am deeply concerned about the health risks of returning to the classroom, and I don't need to have an underlying condition to be worried. How am I supposed to facilitate my normal content and activities when I am six feet away from students, stuck at the front of the classroom, and unable to do anything interactive? How many teenagers do you see wearing masks on any popular street in Palo Alto? I have literally heard teenagers talk with each other about how they don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. Strikes may or may not happen, but the fact still remains that if we are forced to come to work unnecessarily to deliver a sub-par education for students who we already know will not be social distancing, we will almost definitely see teachers and students get sick and potentially die. In this case, I need my union to protect my health in a district that, until March of this year, had banned hand sanitizer from classrooms.

To be clear, I don't WANT to work from home. I miss my classroom and my students every day. I chose my profession because I love interacting with my students and creating engaging curriculum, and I want normalcy just like everyone else. I also realistically understand that the only step towards normalcy is to slow infection rates, and that schools must be closed for that to happen. It's frustrating to see complaint after complaint blaming teachers and unions for district decisions made by people paid more than three times as much as I am (although for what it's worth, while communication was far from ideal, as a professional educator I actually agreed with a number of those choices when considering the numbers of families who share devices, small living spaces, and limited bandwidth). It's disheartening to hear my district bargaining away square footage and equipment that could help to keep us safe for money. It's even more challenging to see posts that seem to think that my life should be offered as collateral damage when I spent the last several months working through late evenings and weekends to do the best that I could in a bad situation. There are a lot of services that schools can provide and I worry for the communities that are impacted by lack of childcare and food services, but those don't seem to be the arguments on this thread. I, and for that matter, all essential workers, should be allowed to do the best work that I can do in healthiest possible conditions. In this case, opening schools would provide limited benefit and directly risk several hundred adult lives and families. If we're worried about the social and emotional impact on students, why aren't we considering the impact that a teacher's death might have on the community and on their classroom? The reality is that I have no choice. If the school reopens, I will have to return to the classroom. I'm hoping that enough community members consider educators to be humans that are trying to do their best and stay healthy to sway the school board, as parent voices seem to be the only ones that have weight in this situation.


13 people like this
Posted by SL
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 30, 2020 at 11:53 am

We are in this Pandemic together. The students around the world are facing similar issues. Universities, schools and colleges are finding ways to work around this, relaxing/changing requirements, criterion for admissions and changing their methods of instruction and approach.
No undue disadvantage here in particular only for our students in PA. All are in the same boat. Yes, of course all students will regress in their skills due to these changing circumstances. It is a gamble we have to take now to keep our families and communities safe and focus on what can be done effectively now given these circumstances. Kids are resilient and they will catch up with their learning gaps.

Why PAUSD failed during Online Instruction during Spring
1. No set guidelines, expectations and accountability from the team (District Higher ups)
2. Un clear guidelines and explanations when it came to SPED and how services mentioned on the IEPs where addressed. Very poor support, no feedbacks and confused parents.
3. Little or no synchronous meetings. Students craved for live face to face meetings with their teachers, instead they were dumped with cumbersome and lengthy asynchronous assignments and submissions. Huge time suck for parents who were working full time and still teaching their children from home.
4. Recorded videos of teaching subject matter were hardly provided. Students struggled to learn concepts.
5. PAUSD guaranteed that they would provide better services start of phase 3, but nothing whatsoever changed from phase 2 to 3 even after “Spring Break”
6. Schoology is a joke. Very non - user friendly, little kids needed so much time and effort to learn to maneuver the site and by that time the schools closed for the summer. Provide a better learning platform.
7. More than blaming the teachers, I would blame the administration for not guiding their teachers better in the Spring and leaving it up to the teachers’ discretion to provide how, how much, when and what they should teach.
8. No focus on Socio emotional learning, teachers could have made sure the groups of students interacted with each other on a regular basis. No social programs or support, there are many ways to do these online.
9. Teacher live meetings for all age groups should be made mandatory. Some high school teachers had this optional and none of their students participated.

Now we know what we should focus on in order to provide adequate online curriculum.

We live in Silicon Valley, the technology capital of the world. We should make use of our connections to help create a robust and fool proof online education platform for students. The whole world should turn back and look at us for following and implementing something that great! Instead we are here arguing over what is better, keeping students, teachers and their families safe while striving to provide a manageable education online or reopen in person and succumb our community to more infections. This precious time we lose now in summer is going to set us back considerably again in receiving quality online education, because from the trend we see around the world—closures will happen again. This instability will be another reason for PAUSD to delay and provide sub - par online education again to our students when we go back to online. By us going back and forth on discussing if schools should reopen in person in fall, we are giving PAUSD yet another chance to come back and provide below par services when we revert back to online (oh!! that is coming…). Other districts around the Bay Area are stepping up in training their teachers this summer to help them provide better online lessons, they are looking into buying/ making online curriculum and modifying it to accentuate distance learning in the fall. What are we doing?


5 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:19 pm

@SL,

"We live in Silicon Valley, the technology capital of the world. We should make use of our connections to help create a robust and fool proof online education platform for students."

As it happens, the idea of using computers for education was pretty much invented here at Stanford and in Palo Alto, starting over 50 years ago (1963). That was my career and I wrote a book about it.

Many schools around the country have been using online instruction for years. They took the time to figure out how to use it and believed in it. When the pandemic came, they were ready.

PAUSD was never the least bit interested in online instruction. It was always declasse and even insulting.

Even now, I don't think that PAUSD thinks that online instruction is a serious alternative educationally. My prediction is that they won't get interested until it becomes necessary for financial reasons. It will happen.

In the PAUSD's defense, it is difficult to put together a district-wide capacity in a few weeks when it is something you have studiously ignored for decades.


14 people like this
Posted by Staff
a resident of Greene Middle School
on Jun 30, 2020 at 12:47 pm

@SL

Imagine coming into work one day and suddenly discovering that your job and any previous work you've done is now being moved to another platform/incorporating a new modus operandi. You're given new tools to facilitate this switch, but they're not necessarily good tools. You don't know know what you're doing and your boss doesn't know that they're doing. Yet, you're expected to perform the same exact way as you were with your old methods, while learning on the job. Oh, and there are also bunch of critics detailing your every mistake. I'm not sure what sources you're using to make your assertions, but as a staff member I have to speak up against speculation. Teachers were very aware of the socio-emotional impact that this pandemic has brought upon the population and provided outlets for students to express their needs and concerns. They did what they could given mediocre tools and little to no direction by the state. Whether they like it or not, parents have/will have a crucial role to play during online learning should it continue into the next school year. The responsibility cannot fully fall on the shoulders of teachers.


11 people like this
Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 30, 2020 at 1:01 pm

@Staff,

Much truth in what you say. However, from what I am hearing, many schools have risen to the occasion better than PAUSD. The attitudes have been terrible here.

Even now, with about 6 weeks remaining before school starts, there is time to make more preparations. But I don't expect to see much.




7 people like this
Posted by John Hicks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2020 at 1:39 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


10 people like this
Posted by SL
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 30, 2020 at 1:54 pm

@ staff , resident of Jordan Middle School, Oh I can imagine exactly how it felt for teachers to switch to a completely new platform in the wink of a second because I am teacher too for children with Special needs in another school district in the Bay Area. We support inclusion very much and I have been in and out of many Gen-Ed teachers grade level classes and meetings (remotely) trying to figure out how to support students online during these times, in addition to serving their individual needs. We all struggled together to help set up a good online program and we learned a little every week to better it. It is still not perfect. Periodically reaching out to families was very crucial and that offered all students the emotional comfort they much needed during now.
PAUSD did not have set protocols for all teachers to follow uniformly. There were some who went out of their way to involve students and some not so much. Discrepancies galore. (parents do discuss). Parents are ready to share the burden at home and want PAUSD to offer quality online classes in the fall and are not requesting teachers to completely shoulder the burden. We don’t want teachers and their families to feel unsafe when schools open in person, and that is the whole point of this thread. "Safe education now". Parents have the right to ask for appropriate and fair education given these times and anytime for that matter. There is nothing wrong in pointing out that PAUSD did not stand up to the challenge.


4 people like this
Posted by @MarkT
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 1, 2020 at 1:17 am

Dear John Hicks,

You are most welcome! I will post soon your very kind response, adding to one of your censored comments which I posted already (before being censored) on the page I dedicated on my blog to the ongoing censoring.

I copy and then post comments before and after they are censored (only a tiny sampling) here:
Web Link (or search for: village fool palo alto before and after).

BTW, You are in good company! Here's sampling of censored quotes. I titled this blog post:
What do Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Miguel De Cervantes, and Shakespeare have in common? All were censored by the PA online.
Link: Web Link (or search for: village fool palo alto twain Shaw Orwell have in common)

I hope you will see this comment, my comments usually vanish fast.

Yours,

VililAge FoO00000l


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Posted by C
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jul 3, 2020 at 3:05 pm

Doctors Look At Why Children May Get Coronavirus Less Frequently

The title sounds good, but I have some concerns:
* The studies done are small samples.
* The reason *why* children seem to be infected less frequently is not known.
* The article also says, "Other studies are showing as many as 80% are asymptomatic. That has raised fears that children may be spreading disease when families are unaware of their infection."
* “The numbers and the rates of kids getting infected are so much lower than the rates of infection that we’re seeing in older folks." However, children still get infected and the virus is contagious.
* Relatively good news is that "there’s evidence in the studies that shows it is also harder for children to share the coronavirus."

So is the glass half-empty or half-full? Well, considering what's in the glass, I'd like a better answer than "we don't know why".

Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 4, 2020 at 12:52 am

Wishing your kids good luck in PAUSD online this Fall again!! During March-May, my kid's 9th grade math teacher just posted homeworks but without any teaching. She just posted some videos from another math teacher randomly. And my kid's Biology H teacher wasn't teaching much, she skipped topics from the regular curriculum. Some teachers tried their best to connect with students. But some just took early summer off since mid-March!!

The most important thing, my kid missed the social interaction in school and friends so much. PAUSD should bring back high school students in the original plan A and B groups. Don Austin didn't listen to the families' requests and he just changed the plan all of a sudden without taking parents' inputs. So disappointed under his leadership.


6 people like this
Posted by dave
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2020 at 9:08 am

We might just have to man up this year 2020-21.
It is very possible, we are going to lose a year of
High School Sports and High School class room experience.
Disaster, I agree.....
We might have to as a country, lock down more than we have.
We might have to wear masks for entire year.
Economic potential disaster I agree.
We might have to turn more attention to a virus control flu type shot.
Cost I suspect another potential disaster of sorts.
Sadly, the choices are narrowing quickly. I had worked off site since
April 6th. I rarely drive my car but Wednesday sales to Safeway. Which
are now limited due to loss of their business profits.
The problem is kids spreading the virus to parents, and others.
Orphans? Possibly. Anyone really looked into recovery period for someone
over 50 who has got the Covid 19.... Many times months and maybe forever....
Complaining about first time ever decisions in our history of our generations
is not fruitful. Participate with logical, well thought out strategies. Vs
typing and complaining because your life has been dis-com-bob-bul-lated or changed.
This is an event we need to be on the same page. Don't get me started with
the disaster of leadership in the White House about our nation's/world wide pandemic. I also need to do my own research on what other countries are doing.
All I know is everytime a city opens up significantly, their covid 19 cases, hospital costs and events dramatically increase. THIS IS PROVEN...


5 people like this
Posted by bml
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 6, 2020 at 4:59 pm

The only option is to plan for remote school until we have the virus controlled, understand COVID-19 better, or have a vaccine.

We can't compare ourselves to schools in other countries. Those countries had the virus under control and have implemented some extreme measures to support the return to school. Demark is averaging around 40 new cases a day and the average still looks to be declining. Even so, some have still had to return to remote teaching.

We're seeing how "re-opening the economy" is working out when the virus isn't under control and the same thing will happen with schools - rapid spreading of the virus and hospitals being overloaded.

Even though children might not have complications at the same rate as adults, the larger number of children that will get COVID-19 because the virus isn't under control and overloading the hospitals will mean more children die or suffer long term complications. We also don't know the long-term consequences of contracting COVID-19. For example, chickenpox is mild for children but can result in regular shingles flare-ups for the rest of their lives. COVID-19 could be worse.

Then with larger numbers of children carrying the virus, more parents and teachers will be inflected. More deaths and long-term health issues.

There is no way to move forward with teaching in the classroom until the virus is under control. Attempting that will mean an outbreak in the first few weeks of opening and going into remote mode for the rest of the year. Better to just face the harsh reality and save some lives because it's inevitable.



Like this comment
Posted by JohnsBells12
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 7, 2020 at 4:45 am

Wow. This is relevant information. I recently read about using online resources Web Link for distance education. I was looking for information to write an essay and such sites help save time. Remote education requires innovative solutions.


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