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Facilities & Transportation

"School is a building which has four walls
with tomorrow inside."

- Lon Watters

PAUSD will continue to take essential actions to ensure district-wide assets remain safe and healthy for students and staff by creating a physical environment that promotes safety through established protocols, procedures, and industry best practices regarding facilities and transportation.


Physical Distancing on Campus

Physical distancing has two main components: keeping individuals a safe distance, as practicable, from one another, and reducing the number of people with whom an individual interacts face-to-face. Reminder signage coupled with floor markers will be placed throughout applicable areas of campus to help with the flow of foot traffic and to avoid unnecessary contact.

Palo Alto Main Office with Physical Distancing Markers

An Example of Physical Distancing markers in Main Office on PAUSD Campus

Palo Alto High School Tower Building Hallway with SD Markers

Palo Alto High School Tower Building Hallway with Physical Distancing Markers

Space Usage
  • Continue to ensure physical distancing among staff in their work environment to reduce the spread of the virus by:
    • Avoiding staff congregation in work environments, break rooms, staff rooms, and bathrooms.
    • Avoiding grouping staff together for training or staff development by conducting the training virtually or, if in-person, ensure distancing is maintained.
Staff area with markers

PAUSD Campus Break Room


  • Evaluate all workspaces, in accordance with Cal/OSHA regulations and guidance, to ensure that employees can maintain physical distancing to the extent possible.
  • Rearrange workspaces to maximize the space between employees and students, whenever possible.
  • Add physical barriers that cannot be moved to separate workspaces If physical distancing between workspaces or between employees, students, and visitors is not possible.
  • Place desks with the maximum distance between students, according to physical distancing guidelines.
  • Adjust the capacity of multipurpose rooms or common areas according to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) guidelines for spacing between students.
Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
  • Continue to deliver high cleanliness and disinfection standards at school sites prior to reopening, and sustain this standard during the school year.
  • Remove stuffed animals and any other toys that are difficult to clean, sanitize, and disinfect in the school facilities.
  • Remove soft furniture from school sites that are difficult to clean, sanitize and disinfect.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in offices, classrooms, restrooms frequently - at least daily - items such as, door handles, switches, handrails, desks and tables, chairs, office equipment, etc.
  • Use disinfecting products approved for use against COVID-19 on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, and follow product instructions.
  • Reduce the risk of asthma-related disinfecting by aiming to select disinfectant products on the EPA List N with asthma-safer ingredients (i.e., hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, or lactic acid).
  • Avoid products that mix the above ingredients with peroxyacetic acid, sodium hypochlorite (bleach), or quaternary ammonium compounds, which can cause asthma.
  • Use disinfectants labeled to be effective against emerging viral pathogens, following label directions for appropriate dilution rates and contact times.
  • When cleaning, ensure sufficient ventilation is provided before staff and children arrive, and disinfect the space when children are not present.
  • Isolate areas used by any sick person and do not use the space before cleaning and disinfection.
  • Cover all drinking fountains and add water bottle filling stations (where possible).
Electrostatic Sprayer being used in PAUSD Classrooms

Electrostatic Sprayer being used in PAUSD Classrooms

Ensuring Adequate Air Ventilation

Doors and windows are to be opened to increase air ventilation. Leaving doors open is acceptable, as long as it does not create a safety risk for students or employees. Utilizing open windows and existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are good options for increasing air ventilation. Maintenance and Operations preventive maintenance protocols are already in place in PAUSD and all HVAC high efficiency rated filters throughout the District are changed on a periodic basis. Indoor air ventilation is closely monitored and maintained by Maintenance & Operations staff during on-going preventive maintenance efforts.

  • Make sure that shared spaces have adequate airflows, provided by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
  • Keep ceiling fans off.
COVID-19 Campus Zoning

PAUSD is creating a temporary campus zoning program designed to maintain a safer and healthier academic environment. PAUSD+ and Post-Secondary Education are the first phase of the program and are a tribute to the hard work of so many in our community over the last several months. The aerial map below shows an example of Palo Alto High School's newly identified, Academic Zone, highlighted in green. Three entry/exit points are identified. All PAUSD+ students and staff will be asked to enter and exit through the identified entry/exit locations shown below. Bike and skateboard rack areas will be available in the Academic Zone to promote active transportation. Specific student and staff restrooms are also assigned. Hand sanitizer will be available at all entry points.

Palo Alto HS zone map

Palo Alto High School's Academic Zone

PAUSD seeks to balance state and local guidance with the various needs of our school communities. PAUSD will limit access within Academic Zones so that only approved students and essential staff may enter and resume educational activities. Guidelines and revisions for all school zones will be shared with each school community.



Promoting active and safe transportation is part of the Health Element under Santa Clara County's (SCC) General Plan adopted in 2015, and is recommended through SCC's Public Health Order for COVID-19.

Encouraging students to use active and safe transportation as an option to get to and from school provides opportunities for students to be physically active, which supports the CDC's efforts to promote one hour of daily exercise recommended for children, leads to improved concentration and academic performance, and is vital for student physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Additional benefits include reduction of traffic congestion around schools, creating safer street conditions; better access for buses; and reduced idling and air pollution, such as CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change.

Lastly, the CDC Health Equity guidance suggests that in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and move toward greater health for all, we must ensure that active transportation resources are available to everyone, including culturally and linguistically tailored activities, materials, and outreach.

PAUSD will continue to encourage families and students to use active transportation to and from school, on foot, and by bike, scooter, wheelchair, etc., while following physical distancing protocols. School travel policies and procedures are being developed to support physically distanced, active, and shared transportation options for all modes of transportation.

PAUSD will continue its work with the City and the Safe Routes to School program to ensure that safety patrol or crossing guards are properly trained by following protocols to encourage safe walking behaviors, such as wearing a face covering and distancing from others. Maximize the space between safety patrol volunteers, crossing guards, and students should be maintained, as practicable, at controlled intersections.

PAUSD is working with the Safe Routes to School program in collaboration with local municipalities, such as the Public Works Department or Transit Agency, to identify highly used bicycle and pedestrian routes to school, and support safe physical distancing safety mitigation at traffic lights, stop signs or busy intersections. Commute options will be incorporated that promote social relationships within stable cohorts such as cohort-based Walking School Busses and Bike Trains, Pop-Up Park, and Walk locations.

Walking and bicycling route maps will continue to evolve , provide safety information about practicing active school commutes and sharing links to transit maps and other transportation information readily available on District, school, PTA, and other parent club websites, or social media pages.

School bus drivers will follow all safety protocols as indicated for other staff, including the use of facial coverings and hand hygiene. In addition, bus drivers will need to wear gloves and will be supplied with cleaning wipes. When students line up before boarding, they should be wearing facial coverings, unless medically inadvisable, and bus drivers will ensure that students are practicing physical distancing.

All students must complete the symptom screening process at home and answer "NO" to all screening questions before leaving home to board their bus. If they answer "YES" to any of the questions, they must remain at home, and will not be allowed to board the bus. However, if the parent, guardian or student forgets to complete the symptom screening process, and the student arrives at the bus stop, the bus driver will ask the student to fill out the symptom screening form prior to boarding the bus. If the student answers "YES" to any of the questions and the parent or guardian is not available to take the student home, the student will be transported to their school (by a different district vehicle) where s/he will wait in the isolation room until a parent or guardian arrives.

PAUSD will help to maximize physical distancing between students at bus stops by placing physical distancing ground markings. Spacing must be maintained to the greatest extent possible between the bus driver and students when seated. Floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to students where they should not sit or stand near the bus driver will be deployed. Maximized physical distancing between students while seated on the bus will be achieved by limiting available seats to the extent practicable. Students from the same family, and/or the same classroom, should be instructed to sit together whenever possible to minimize exposure to new contacts.

Air circulation must also be maintained as much as possible. This can be done through opening windows or using HVAC systems, if available. When leaving the bus, students must maintain physical distancing and will need to check in with the school. School buses will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily and especially after transporting an individual who is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

Checklist for Bus
  • Weather permitting, keep bus windows open for ventilation purposes.
  • Practice physical distancing at school loading zones when lining up for the bus.
  • Sit in designated seats with siblings and classroom cohorts seated together.
  • Sanitize hands and wear face mask/covering before entering the bus.
  • Wear face mask/covering while riding the bus.
  • Disembark the bus upon arrival in an orderly fashion, maintaining physical distancing.
  • If fever is detected or suspected at home before boarding the bus, parents are asked to keep students at home.
  • Follow disinfecting schedules and be responsible for any/all vehicles driven.
  • Disinfect all handrails, seats, etc., between each group of students, and disinfect all equipment at the end of the day.
  • Provide the driver with surplus masks to provide to students without masks.
  • Determine maximum capacity for students of each vehicle while meeting physical distancing objectives.
  • Create a plan for seating, based on the maximum capacity determined above, and develop a plan for bus routes that accommodate the capacity limitations, and mark or block seats that must be left vacant.
  • Instruct students and parents to maintain distancing at bus stops and while loading and unloading.
  • Seat students from the rear of the bus forward to prevent students from walking past each other.
  • Students who get off first should board last and sit in the front; i.e., afternoon runs should be boarded based on the order in which students will be dropped off.
Electrostatic Sprayers Used on Buses

Electrostatic Sprayers Used on Buses

Carpools and Shared Rides

PAUSD advises staff and families who are carpooling to rideshare with their assigned stable cohort, to open windows and maximize air circulation when feasible, and to wear a face covering at all times.