Town Square

Post a New Topic

Masks to be required outdoors at Palo Alto's K-8 public schools

Original post made on Aug 20, 2021

Palo Alto elementary and middle schoolers are going to once again have to wear face coverings at recess and lunch, under a new outdoor mask mandate the Palo Alto Unified School District announced Friday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 20, 2021, 4:12 PM

Comments (36)

Posted by BalancedParent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2021 at 5:16 pm

BalancedParent is a registered user.

Two of our kids were exposed this week at school -- one in elementary and one in high school. Covid is circulating in our town and in our schools. Keep the masks on, and please get vaccinated if you are able to. PAUSD please offer on-site weekly testing!


Posted by PA Community Advocate
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2021 at 8:50 pm

PA Community Advocate is a registered user.

Question for Don Austin - do you personally wear a mask for more than 4 hours straight 5 days in a row? Estimating that 80% of PAUSD parents are part of the “pajama class” and have never done this. [Portion removed.]


Posted by PA Community Advocate
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2021 at 8:59 pm

PA Community Advocate is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jeremy Erman
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2021 at 11:08 pm

Jeremy Erman is a registered user.

So what does this mean for choir and band classes? Choir can sing masked if they have to, but band musicians cannot, not without using masks with breathing holes that are illegal under the county's mandate. Is the district making an exemption for band? Or I guess every musician has to be six feet apart, outside.

The arts always seem to be the last thing any politicians and public officials think of during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, as Austin even acknowledges, anyone can eat indoors without a mask.


Posted by M. Kornicki
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 21, 2021 at 7:22 am

M. Kornicki is a registered user.

> Is the district making an exemption for band?

Maybe keep the school bands as all percussion units or a Taiko ensemble?


Posted by Come on!
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2021 at 7:54 am

Come on! is a registered user.

If we want kids to wear masks properly while indoors then they need a chance to take them off while outdoors.


Posted by Alan Dunning
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 21, 2021 at 8:42 am

Alan Dunning is a registered user.

- The arts always seem to be the last thing any politicians and public officials think of during the pandemic.

A low priority and rightfully so.

Besides, one can paint or sculpt wearing a face mask.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2021 at 8:52 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I am not sure what it feels like to be masked up for 7 hours a day with just a short break to eat. For most of us adults we are not doing this, even while working lunch breaks, etc. can mean getting outside to take a break from the masks.

Children need to learn how to read facial expressions. It is not just a smile but also, sad faces, angry faces, scared faces, worried faces, etc.

I worry for this generation because there will soon be a time that for many children they do not remember what it was like to live a normal life.

This will be even worse for those children who have to stay at school in childcare for a couple more hours until their working parents pick them up.

Just my thoughts.


Posted by Pierce Dewar
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 21, 2021 at 9:51 am

Pierce Dewar is a registered user.

The key is to make face mask wearing fun for the kids. Then they will embrace the concept.

Perhaps an arts and crafts project where they can make personalized face masks via batik or tie-dying.


Posted by Jamie Decatur
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2021 at 11:52 am

Jamie Decatur is a registered user.

Get vaccinated, continue wearing a facemask (when in public), and avoid large social gatherings for the time being.

How simple is that?


Posted by Laura Cannon
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 21, 2021 at 1:13 pm

Laura Cannon is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 21, 2021 at 1:16 pm

Samuel L is a registered user.

There's no way Austin would require high schoolers to wear masks outside, that could ruin his precious football season.

I like when he uses precise terms like "largely" and when he says "some people" he actually means himself.


Posted by Kellie Johanson
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 22, 2021 at 9:39 am

Kellie Johanson is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Jane
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 22, 2021 at 8:01 pm

Jane is a registered user.

This could make sense if there were any actual data supporting plus a considered determination that the benefits outweighed the costs. But, there *are no* data supporting it, just intuitions and the urge to minimize legal risk in case some parent goes ballistic about something.

So the result is that we have public school educators teaching and enforcing what amounts to superstition in the lower grades. Glad my kids went to private school.


Posted by Jeremy Erman
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2021 at 11:45 pm

Jeremy Erman is a registered user.

It's important to remember, though, that this is being enacted at the elementary and middle school level because the vast majority of these students aren't eligible for the vaccine, while high school students are. Hopefully that will change in a few months.


Posted by Lyle Eckhardt
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2021 at 8:44 am

Lyle Eckhardt is a registered user.

>> There's no way Austin would require high schoolers to wear masks outside, that could ruin his precious football season.

^ And water polo season.


Posted by Forever Name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2021 at 11:01 am

Forever Name is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 23, 2021 at 4:39 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2021 at 5:48 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2021 at 9:16 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2021 at 10:03 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Walter Simon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 24, 2021 at 10:18 am

Walter Simon is a registered user.

If there are no face masks required while participating in outdoor sports such as football, spitting out water on the sidelines, along with teammate congratulatory physical contact should not be allowed and punishable by a 15 yard penalty.

And being an indoor sport, basketball players should be required to wear face masks while competing or on the sidelines and the same goes for close contact sports like wrestling

Baseball and track could get waivers because the spacing requirements are built-in...except when runners are on base which should trigger a face mask mandate by the umpire if an infielder is holding the runner on.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2021 at 10:38 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Seth Rogers
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 24, 2021 at 12:30 pm

Seth Rogers is a registered user.

Red state mentality + Friday Night Lights mentality + anti-vax/anti-face mask mentality = a public health concern in regards to curtailing the Delta variant.

Sports is merely entertainment, no different than a stage production or movie except that they keep score.

We gave away our 2021 49er and Giants season tickets...much more enjoyable to watch the games at home.

No more traffic, parking, drunkard fans, and exit crowds to deal with.

Ignoramus football mentalities are best reserved for places like Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida where Covid public safety measures take a back seat to common sense.

@John B. Sails...I lettered in three high school sports (football, basketball, and baseball).


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2021 at 1:33 pm

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Emma Jackson
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 24, 2021 at 2:15 pm

Emma Jackson is a registered user.

Play on! And in the event a player falls ill (or is injured), there will always be another player to hopefully step in and fill the position.

That is life (aka reality).


Posted by Palo Alto Res
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 25, 2021 at 10:46 am

Palo Alto Res is a registered user.

Just curious why so many comments are being removed? Could it be they are negative Don Austin comments? He always says "PAUSD is the 'leader' in the pandemic" when reality is he only follows Los Altos and Mountain View and Menlo School Districts. We are larger yet he has failed to be brave and be a leader in any of this.
What has happened is he has encouraged early retirement of teachers (many of whom are excellent teachers) from PAUSD, led to turnover of staff during a time when students need stability. I've heard Paly senior students can't get AP courses they need or want. Class sizes are larger.
But you know, the one thing that ran smoothly and continued even while students in elementary and secondary schools didn't return till a week after Spring break once schools closed down? It was the football team.
Actions speak louder than words. Priorities.


Posted by Art Fetters
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 25, 2021 at 11:20 am

Art Fetters is a registered user.

Football (on any level) is not a sound substitution for a good education...judging by the countless illiterates playing college and NFL football


Posted by Paul Bellamy
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 26, 2021 at 7:20 am

Paul Bellamy is a registered user.

"...the countless illiterates playing college and NFL football"

That is why so many of them are bankrupt or homeless after their playing careers are over.

It starts with college recruitment via substandard academic athletic scholarship criteria and then a fast jump into the NFL prior to graduating.

Some of the dumbest football players are wide receivers and defensive linemen who can be plugged instantly into just about any pro format if they have the talent.

Most MLB and NBA aren't too bright either but the pay is great!


Posted by Emily Johnston
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 26, 2021 at 9:03 am

Emily Johnston is a registered user.

Many professional sports teams are requiring full vaccinations + the mandatory wearing of face masks.

High school sports should be no different as the participants are minors.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2021 at 10:27 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed due to repetitive posting.]


Posted by Judith Perry
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 26, 2021 at 1:42 pm

Judith Perry is a registered user.

Prep football is not as important as preparatory academics and public health measures to ensure the safety of our school-aged children.

This is obviously a 180 mentality in countless red states who worship football and disavow the dangers of the coronavirus variants and large gatherings.

Just ask the folks in Sturgess, SD after the
700,000 pseudo Hells Angels departed.


Posted by Blaine Alston
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 27, 2021 at 11:39 am

Blaine Alston is a registered user.

Football is just recreational entertainment (for those so inclined or compulsive gamblers).

In the larger realm of things it is just another outside activity that some non-participants (aka spectators) seem to make a big deal out of.

Fottball (and other sports genres) will not save the world or make it a better place.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2021 at 6:32 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Ari Fleischman
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 28, 2021 at 9:54 am

Ari Fleischman is a registered user.

"Fottball [sic] (and other sports genres) will not save the world or make it a better place."

They won't save the world but any form of entertainment can take our minds off other things.

And speaking of "lardbuckets" most of them are armchair QBs with a six-pack of beer and a basket of buffalo wings...their version of being athletic.


Posted by John B. Sails
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2021 at 11:15 am

John B. Sails is a registered user.

Right you are, Mr. Fleishchman!

This is an important distinction I think, as I see more and more people of all ages and abilities out speed walking and jogging around Shoreline/Baylands and the Satellite at Stanford. These are people who realize how to beat Covid rather than the maximum lock-down advocates from their basements.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Using heat pump specs to answer your common sense questions
By Sherry Listgarten | 11 comments | 5,017 views

Home brews to home base: Brewing With Brothas aims to open East Palo Alto taproom
By The Peninsula Foodist | 1 comment | 3,078 views

Jumping on a bandwagon that ends up breaking down
By Diana Diamond | 16 comments | 3,067 views

"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,705 views