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Superintendent's Message re: Reopening Schools

From the Office of the Superintendent:

Dear PAUSD staff and families,


Opening a school district is difficult under the best conditions. We are faced with opening the 2020-21 school year with unprecedented challenges. PAUSD will push out notifications when there is significant news to report. While the California Department of Education (CDE) and Governor Newsom will receive the bulk of media attention, our Santa Clara County Public Health Department will likely have a more significant local role in determining when and how our schools reopen. Their website can be found at the link: SCCPHD.

The complete California Public Health Department guidelines for schools to reopen were released and can be found HERE.

Earlier today, the CDE released their reopening guidelines. They are largely aligned with the Public Health Department and can be found HERE.

Highlights from the guidelines include:

Face Coverings

  • All school staff should use cloth face coverings.
  • Encourage students to wear cloth face coverings, especially in circumstances where physical distancing cannot be ensured.

Physical Distancing

  • Establish separation of students, e.g., six feet between desks, partitions between desks, markings on classroom floors to promote distancing, or arranging desks in a way that minimizes face-to-face contact.
  • Limit gatherings, events, and extracurricular activities to those that can maintain physical distancing and support proper hand hygiene. Additional guidance on sports and extracurricular activities is forthcoming.

Health Screenings

  • Conduct visual wellness checks of all students upon arrival and take students' temperature with a no-touch thermometer upon entering the school site.

Cleaning, Disinfection, and Ventilation

  • Establish a cleaning and disinfecting schedule so that staff can clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces within the school and school buses at least daily and/or as practicable frequently throughout the day by trained custodial staff.
  • Limit the use of sharable objects and equipment, including playground equipment.

Again, PAUSD did not author the guidelines and is in the process of determining a path to implement the many pieces of the Public Health Department document.


We will begin school in less than seventy (70) days. Time and the Public Health Department will determine if our doors are physically or virtually open. We have regular Board meetings scheduled for June 9 and June 26. We have tentatively scheduled Special Board Meetings for each Friday and alternating Tuesdays.

We understand the desire to have certainty around some important questions. We are working with large teams to problem-solve predictable issues. Some of these decisions require negotiating with our bargaining units. Those negotiations are underway and will be updated on our website under Human Resources. Our partners share the interests surrounding supporting your students at the highest level and we are trying to reach agreement on some important topics.

We do plan to start school on our scheduled days in August. We will be formally asking families to determine if they truly wish for online options or if they prefer face-to-face interaction with a hybrid (some physically in front of a teacher and some online) system. We heard from our survey that families wanted choices where possible. It's getting close to time to make the choice so we can plan accordingly and allocate resources.


For those who love to examine data, we have created a link for you to dig into our survey results. The tabs on the top of the document will help you to go between topics. With a robust and nicely distributed sample size, we believe the results capture some important public sentiment. Please view the survey results HERE.

If you want to see a very quick recap of the survey results and how to navigate the system, the first 10 minutes of our recent webinar can be found HERE. The explanation begins about 3 minutes into the webinar.


Don Austin
Superintendent of Schools

Best school closure information found at