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What does special education look like during a pandemic?

Original post made on Jul 17, 2020

As debate continues to rage about how and when to safely reopen schools, students with disabilities in Palo Alto are heading into classrooms to learn in person for the first time in four months.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 17, 2020, 6:57 AM

Comments (16)

35 people like this
Posted by Army Vet
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2020 at 7:26 am

That's what commitment and sacrifice in the front line looks like people. Enjoy your day Palo Altans.


17 people like this
Posted by Navy vet
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2020 at 8:57 am

Thank you for your service! You are absolutely right!


29 people like this
Posted by Kimberly Eng Lee
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 17, 2020 at 10:38 am

Sincerest thanks to our Special Education teachers and aides who responded to these essential needs.


19 people like this
Posted by SG
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2020 at 11:21 am

Wonderful to see the commitment. The county should address this in other districts as well. Supporting children with disabilities has to be an essential service.


22 people like this
Posted by Olenka Villarreal
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 17, 2020 at 11:57 am

For these students it's important to consider their develpmental, rather than chronological, ages when creating a fall plan. Returning elementary students to an in-person experience is often discussed but Ava is one (of many) who functions at a much lower developmental level. While she is a high schooler, she functions at a 1-2 year old level, and only responds to in-person teaching.

I urge the district to please consider the learning levels of their special education students when finalzing their plans. The many precautions being taken during our summer session show me that it IS possible to provide a safe classroom and accommodate the learning needs of these students. Another minute of distance learning would simply be unbearable for many of these kids ... and for us parents.


23 people like this
Posted by Olenka Villarreal
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 17, 2020 at 12:03 pm

P.S. And yes, HUGE thanks to the teachers, aides, and staff who have come forward to teach this summer. Special thanks to Ms. Sims for trying so hard to make each day a magical one. Ava and I are profoundly grateful to have these weeks of in-person learning!


18 people like this
Posted by teacher safety
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Teachers who are getting this close to students and working in a room with un-masked students should be wearing N95 masks and facial shields for their own safety.


16 people like this
Posted by Aesculus CA
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 17, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Looks like schools in Santa Clara County must be online only per Gov. Newsom's announcement today (7/17) until our county stays off the watch list for 14 days.

We ALL need to stay home, wear masks, avoid gatherings and reduce our case numbers so our kids and teachers can safely return to school!


21 people like this
Posted by Staff AND student safety
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 17, 2020 at 1:28 pm

To show photos of staff not being able to follow the social distancing guidelines discredits the claim that this is an appropriate and safe response to the barriers faced by our special education students. This article is missing important voices and factual information about covid spread and risk. Sending appreciation to educators who all worked overtime last spring to support students and families in very meaningful ways. I see you.


12 people like this
Posted by The governor just issued an order
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2020 at 2:36 pm

The bruhaha over online learning is moot. The governor has issued a statewide order. No returning to school this fall. Good call! Countries that opened schools saw spikes in Covid spread.


16 people like this
Posted by Sense and sensibility
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 17, 2020 at 2:55 pm

Governor Newsom has chosen science. Thank goodness. Now if everyone can continue wearing a mask and we can continue testing with a quick turn around maybe we can all return to school in the later in the fall. It’s going to be weird not meeting my students in person.


20 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 17, 2020 at 3:32 pm

This is not the place to gloat about Newsom‘s order. It may be the right decision, but please recognize that this pandemic is a tragedy for this population of kids and their families. My son gets up every morning and asks, “School broken? People sick?“


1 person likes this
Posted by Special Ed Mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2020 at 12:49 pm

How about the younger special ed kids? Why weren’t they offered in-person summer school? They are in great need of in-person learning.


14 people like this
Posted by SpED worker
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2020 at 12:31 pm

I can't imagine being a parent of someone with significant behavioral issues, and not being able to rely on the school to give them a break by taking them for a few hours, but if they reopened too soon and someone (student, teacher or paraprofessional) got sick then they'd end up having to close again. This could cause the people around that infected person to demand change and accountability for creating the situation in the first place. It's a rock and a hard place situation.


2 people like this
Posted by Grossly Ignored
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2020 at 2:33 pm

The fact that the Special Education population has been GROSSLY ignored from birth to elderly, is really just infuriating. Not once have I heard anyone address it, besides quickly saying special needs under the umbrella of Mental Health. This is an outrage and I am surprised it has not been addressed more in the Media realm, and through protest. Many can't get out to get tested, or can tolerate a test up the nose, and many are needing services that just can't do justice through a computer screen. So many questions and so many concerns and my heart breaks for those with special needs and their families.
There are many questions and I don't have the answers but it would be nice to at least see officials and those who are addressing the community on a regular basis actually address the whole community and address the fact that they are looking at ideas on how to help and better meet their needs.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2020 at 3:22 pm

Posted by Grossly Ignored, a resident of another community

>> The fact that the Special Education population has been GROSSLY ignored from birth to elderly

I know it is difficult to believe, but, as recently as 15 years ago, PAUSD was known for *both* its Special Ed programs and its academic strength. Both, at the same time. For some reason, decline has set in. Oh well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later. Or,

"He song; she pleyde; he tolde tale of Wade.
But at the laste, as every thing hath ende,
She took hir leve, and nedes wolde wende."


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