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Superintendent's Update - November 13, 2020

From the Office of the Superintendent:

Superintendent's Update

BOARD OF EDUCATION TENTATIVE BOARD CALENDAR

  • Tuesday, December 8, 2020, Title IX Study Session (Tentative Date)
    • Title IX Listening Session
  • Tuesday, December 15, 2020
    • Annual Organization Meeting
    • Proposed BoE Calendar for next year
    • COVID Reopening Update
    • Special Education Update
  • Tuesday, January 19, 2021
    • Budget Assumptions
    • Elementary and Secondary Dyslexia Update
    • Review Elementary Construction Program
    • New Course Approval

ELEMENTARY/SECONDARY REOPENING

"I had a good time today! Did you?" Those words were shouted by one of the four students carrying a bag of balls on the playground at Escondido Elementary School today. Escondido has nearly 275 students in-person. At Ohlone, a group of 2/3 students danced to music and a projected video with their teacher and principal. Teachers worked one-on-one with students in a way that the masks and barriers almost faded away. As of this week, over 2,100 students are back on campuses. Nearly an equal number are served through distance learning options at the discretion of their families. I also visited a neighborhood learning pod of four students in a garage. They expressed their gratitude for the choice and said it was working for them. It was a good day!

Secondary families are making decisions about their own students through Wednesday, November 18. More information can be found HERE. Most importantly, families should not be pressured or persuaded to make a decision by any adult affiliated with PAUSD. Our principals are available to field questions or concerns and will respond quickly. Families will make decisions that match their needs. There is a lot of misinformation floating around. As a reminder, there are no perfect plans or scenarios during COVID closures. It is also important to remember that no single answer or perspective fits all students. Our reports will highlight the return of students to in-person because it is new. PAUSD is advocating for choice and not one model over the other. Some decision-making factors include:

  • We can accommodate between 30-40% of our students in hybrid, if requested.
  • Families have the option of requesting hybrid and marking a box that they are also comfortable with distance learning if we reach capacity.
  • Distance learning classes will not exceed 39 students (not 40, 50, or 60 from rumors).
  • Hybrid classes are limited to two or three classes, depending on grade levels.
  • Hybrid selections require several distance classes combined with in-person to fill the schedule.
  • Both options may result in teacher changes and a new order of courses.
  • As we have seen in elementary schools, students in hybrid will engage in discussions, can be placed in small groups, and will not be forced to sit in front of a computer.
  • If requests for hybrid exceed our capacity, struggling students will be prioritized and remaining spots will be determined through a lottery.
  • If COVID conditions change in a direction prohibiting reopening, students will remain in distance learning.
  • Your principal is the best contact for specific questions.

AFTERNOON UPDATE FROM PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT

Santa Clara County is currently in the Orange Tier. Earlier this afternoon, the Santa Clara Emergency Operations Center / Public Health Department indicated that we will move to the State's Red Tier next week (PRESS RELEASE BELOW). As a reminder, our elementary schools opened for in-person instruction in the Red Tier. The information in the paragraphs above is still accurate. If Santa Clara County moves into the Purple Tier, PAUSD will consider contingency plans. It is premature to make changes in our direction. It is not premature to think through scenarios that may be heading our direction. At this time, portions of San Jose and Gilroy are driving the numbers resulting in a change of status for our county. Our immediate area is not experiencing a spike. If our community experiences a spike, PAUSD will respond accordingly.


Santa Clara County and Other Bay Area Counties
Move to Contain Spread of COVID-19

Santa Clara County, CA -- Santa Clara County and other counties throughout the Bay Area are seeing a sudden, rapid spike in COVID-19 cases and a significant increase in hospitalizations. The average number of new cases per day in Santa Clara County has more than doubled since early October. With transmission and hospitalizations on the rise, health officers in counties across the Bay Area are tightening local rules for high-risk indoor activities where the virus spreads more easily.

In Santa Clara County, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody today announced that the County's dramatically increasing case counts make clear that the County will be moved to the State's Red Tier next Tuesday November 17th. Unless the current surge is quickly brought under control, the County expects to be moved to the Purple Tier in the next few weeks.

Dr. Cody and most of her colleagues around the Bay Area will be issuing local orders today requiring the closure of indoor dining and imposing limits on certain other high-risk activities. The new restrictions on activity in Santa Clara County will take effect on Tuesday, November 17th at 12:01 a.m.

Indoor dining at restaurants reopened at reduced capacity in mid-October, but as case counts continue to rise, the risks associated with indoor dining, especially because patrons must take their masks off to eat, have increased significantly. Dr. Cody and public health experts in our region and elsewhere have concluded that it is necessary to close indoor dining to help contain the spread of the virus.

"We know that eating indoors without masks is a very high-risk activity, and as we close indoor dining we also strongly urge people not to eat or gather indoors with anyone outside their own household," Dr. Cody said. "We must come together as a community and act now to get the virus under control."

Dr. Cody noted that wearing masks at all times, avoiding crowded environments, and moving as many activities as possible outdoors is critical to controlling the virus. In indoor environments, the risk of droplet and aerosol transmission of COVID-19 can be only partially mitigated by wearing a mask.

Health officials are especially worried about people gathering indoors with the holidays coming up and the weather getting colder. Dr. Cody and other health officers have stated they will have to consider additional closures if current trends continue.