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Superintendent’s Update – August 20, 2021

STAY HOME IF ILL

We cannot stress enough the importance of staying home if ill. We have been taught over time to push through colds. This is not the time to send students to school with a cough, fever, or other symptoms of an illness. All staff and students must remain at home if sick. We need healthy people in our schools. More importantly, we need to keep ill people home to protect the health of our entire community.

OUTDOOR MASKING

Outdoor masking will be required at the elementary and middle school levels beginning on August 23.

Santa Clara County uses a modified quarantine protocol found HERE. Tracking unmasked and unvaccinated students is problematic and challenging. After consulting with other school districts, PAUSD made the decision to add outdoor masking as an additional layer of protection.

Students who need a break from masking outdoors may remove their mask if they are not within six feet of another person. This common-sense approach will allow students to get fresh air without creating health concerns for others.

High school students will have the option of masking outdoors. This is consistent with other school districts in our region. Vaccinations remain an additional layer of mitigation available to students 12 and older.

Revisions will be reflected on PAUSD websites later today.

CLASSROOM VISITS

Classrooms look like real school again across the District. I am constantly reminded of the dedicated people who create magic for our students. Teachers and support staff are sharing their appreciation for the ability to serve students again in settings that resemble the past. Our classes are alive and vibrant. Thank you to everyone for making this our reality.

HOMEWORK / TEST STACKING POLICY

We have received many questions and concerns from secondary families and teachers about homework and tests related to our bell schedules. As previously stated, the bell schedule committee, comprised of over 30 teachers, PAEA designees, classified employees, CSEA designees, administrators, students, and parents, recommended the following:

  • Seven-period days have the potential for test and project stacking and/or homework due in every class which increases student stress.
  • Assigned homework may not be due on the seven-period day.
  • Due dates for projects may not fall on the seven-period day.
  • Only formative, non-graded, assessments may be conducted.

Some families have reported actions in opposition to the committee recommendations. Additionally, some teachers have pointed to the absence of a written policy. As a result, PAUSD will release a written Administrative Regulation (AR) to memorialize a written policy aligning with the recommendations from the committee. The AR will go to secondary staff members first and will be shared with all families in our update next Friday, August 27. Administrative Regulations require no additional action from the Board of Education.