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Superintendent's Update - February 19, 2020

From the Office of the Superintendent:

The Board agenda is tentative until published. The tentative calendar can be found HERE.

PAUSD is the only Santa Clara County school district to share information through School News Roll Call. It allows each school to share quick stories and pictures from throughout the District. Please visit our latest edition HERE.

PAUSD took unanimous action on November 10, 2020, to reopen secondary schools as early as January 7, 2021. A short time after the vote, Santa Clara County moved two levels to enter the Purple Tier. The shift to the Purple Tier prohibited PAUSD from opening schools not previously open for in-person instruction. As a result, secondary schools have remained in distance learning.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) developed a new framework (published on January 14, 2021) to support school communities as they decide when and how to implement in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year. This framework is intended to provide an update to the COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-21 School Year (July 17, 2020) guidance. It also provides a consolidation of content from other CDPH COVID-19 and school-related guidance and supersedes previous CDPH COVID-19 and Cal/OSHA school guidance. The PAUSD required website posting occurred on January 26, in front of the February 1 deadline. Detailed information can be found HERE.

Meals were served to families beginning on the first day of closures in March 2020. The District Office administration and members of the support staff have been back since July. Support staff returned in August, coinciding with all site administrators. Targeted interventions began in August and September for small groups of students. The first large-scale return of elementary students began on October 12. By mid-November, in-person instruction was available for all students by choice in grades TK-5.

February 2021 In-Person Statistics at a Glance

  • Elementary Schools: 2,100+ students
  • Riding Bus: 120 students
  • Athletic Cohorts: 470 students
  • High School Cohorts: 120+ students
  • PAUSD+: 90 students
  • Daily Meals Served: Over 1,600 lunches, 600 breakfasts
  • Teachers: 160
  • Classified Support Staff: 475

Our first two elementary school pilot programs for five days per week instruction have started this week. The pilot requires classes with small enough numbers to place students together in a class with the current spacing restrictions. Given the success of our first week, we should expect slow growth of pilots in the next few weeks. This is a first step for a full return in the fall for all students.


6th Grade
Sixth-grade students may return for in-person instruction on March 2. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of PAUSD families selected in-person instruction for their students. Schools are communicating with families, and classrooms are undergoing inspections for proper safety measures consistent with the approach used to open elementary schools.

Grades 7-12
Students may return to classrooms no earlier than March 1, and no less than five days after the county has returned to the Red Tier for five consecutive days. The model allows for maintaining current schedules, flexible attendance in small groups, consistency of delivery through Zoom, and opportunities for students to interact in-person with peers and teachers.

Students will be divided into two groups and assigned two days each week for optional in-person instruction. A class composed of 28 students would have roughly 14 students eligible to attend class in-person on a given day. Early polling and data from other school districts indicate we should anticipate less than 50% participation for in-person. Using these assumptions as a base, a class of 28 would potentially serve seven (7) students in-person on any given day.

Closed Campuses
Our campuses will be closed until Santa Clara County returns to the Orange Tier. The compromise allows for a path to open campuses at lunch in the future, while making safety our top priority. Individual sites will communicate with their students and monitor compliance.

Staff / Student COVID Testing
Staff is still evaluating options for student COVID testing. Logistics and cadence are at the center of staff discussions. PAUSD is awaiting guidance to provide surveillance testing data with an established sample size, while maximizing efficiency, protecting student privacy, and maintaining fiscal responsibility.

The City of Palo Alto is seeking members of the school community to join the Housing Element Working Group. The Palo Alto City Council approved the establishment of a Housing Element Working Group to help the City update its Housing Element. The Housing Element is the City's strategic plan to meet the housing needs of current and future residents.

The Working Group will be responsible for helping select housing sites and prepare housing policies and programs. Additionally, the group is scheduled to meet monthly on the first Thursday of the month, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. between May 2021-October 2022.

The application deadline is March 5, 2021. Selections will be made by the City Council on April 5, 2021. For more information visit: For questions, email:

Apply online here!

City of Palo Alto flyer promoting Housing in Palo Alto