Dear PAUSD Families,
Thank you for your patience as we put steps in place to support our students during the COVID-19 closure. Below you will find information and resources that are available at this time. Our teachers and staff have been working hard to develop a program with activities designed to promote a continuance of learning. Details of activities for each age group will come from the sites and classroom teachers. I would like to take a moment to thank our teachers for their dedication to our students and desire to serve our community during this significant disruption to our operation.
Don Austin, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
All Offices Are Closed
Under the guidance of the Santa Clara Public Health Department and Santa Clara County Office of Education, public schools in Santa Clara County are closed. All of our school offices and district offices will be closed to the public beginning Tuesday, March 17. For communication with school and district employees, please email specific staff directly. Contact information can be found on the Palo Alto Unified School District website, pausd.org, or your child’s specific school website, https://www.pausd.org/schools.
PAUSD employees have been asked to work remotely during this time. Teachers will be supporting flexible learning options (FLOs) for students and will be working off campus to meet student academic needs as much as possible during this unprecedented time. District leadership is working to develop specific guidelines for staff and will be implementing plans as conditions change.
Educational Plans “Flexible Learning Options”
Common study guidelines by grade level for elementary students will be shared with families. These guidelines outline suggested daily reading, writing, and math, as well as other resources for access to additional learning and enrichment opportunities. Most of the activities are designed for students to complete independently. Daily reading with your child is highly recommended to support comprehension. Teachers will be in communication with families through email during the school closure period. If you have questions, please email your child’s teacher and/or principal.
Teachers have prepared flexible learning options (FLOs) to post in Schoology during the closure. This week, week 1, will begin with learning options posted on each teacher’s Schoology page. Teachers will continue to prepare FLOs throughout the closure; however, there may be an increase in time expectations per course per week. Teachers will be in communication with students through Schoology or email during the school closure period. If you have questions, please email your child’s teacher and/or principal.
In order to access flexible learning options, students will need access to devices and the internet. Low cost or free internet access is available for low income families and is available through some internet providers, including throughComcast. For questions and technical support, please contact PAUSD technology services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Education and Section 504 Plans
It is important to note neither the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), nor related state laws specifically address a district’s responsibility to students with disabilities in the case of extended school closures because of exceptional circumstances. However, it is clear that school districts must not discriminate on the basis of disability when providing educational services or access to education during closure. (Atkison, Andelson, Loya, Ruud, & Romo, 3/12/20)
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the US Department of Education issued guidance related to the provision of services to children with disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak. It states, “If a LEA closes its schools to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19, and does not provide any education services to the general student population, then an LEA would not be required to provide services to students with disabilities during that same period of time. Once school resumes, the LEA must make every effort to provide special education and related services to the child in accordance with the child’s IEP or, for students entitled to FAPE under Section 504, consistent with a plan developed to meet the requirements of Section 504.”
In PAUSD, flexible learning options include learning activities for general education, special education, and 504 students. Education Specialists, at the secondary level, will provide support to students on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) through office hours on Schoology.
If your child has a pending initial, annual or triennial IEP meeting during the duration of the District’s school closures, it will be rescheduled upon the reopening of schools. If your child has a pending assessment for qualification of an IEP, the 60-day timeline stopped on March 15 and will resume as soon as schools reopen and/or students start attending school.
English Learner Student Support
English Learner Specialists will be checking in with elementary classroom teachers to monitor support of English learner students. Families should contact the English Learner Specialist if they have questions or concerns. English learner students at secondary sites that are enrolled in support classes will have a flexible learning option similar to other classes, which are posted in Schoology.
Child Nutrition Services – Meal Service During School Closures
Meals will be provided to families in need during school closures. Families already part of PAUSD’s meal program have been contacted regarding specific details. Additionally, all students who live in East Palo Alto will also be provided with meal service. For more information please see the school district website, pausd.org, regarding how PAUSD will provide free meals for students during school closure. For additional questions, please contact PAUSD Food Services at email@example.com.
Mental Health Supports & Services
Mental Health Emergencies: It is advisable to reach out to the following agencies for emergency support as local emergency rooms are expected to be impacted.
- Call 911 and request a C.I.T. trained officer to respond when someone might be an immediate danger to themselves or others.
- Santa Clara County Residents:
- Uplift Family Services Mobile Crisis Line (408)-379-9085 will triage needs over the phone and can come out to your location for assistance as needed.
- Alum Rock Counseling Center (408)-294-0579 and they will triage over the phone and can come out to your location for assistance as needed.
- San Mateo County Residents:
- StarVista (650) 579-0350 for 24/7 phone crisis consultation for next steps.
- Crisis text line 24/7 text hello to 741741 and you will be connected with support.
Non-Emergency Mental Health Needs
- It is recommended that families, students or staff needing mental health services utilize Care Solace to find a community provider. Those in need of support may call 24/7 (888) 515-0595, email firstname.lastname@example.org or www.caresolace.com/pausdfamilies.
- School Counselors, school psychologists and the Wellness Center Coordinators will be available via email and can schedule time to connect using phone or video.
- Mental health staff will be checking in with students/families who have been receiving ongoing school-based support.
- The district social worker will be checking in with families in the McKinney Vento and Foster Care program to continue providing support remotely during school closures.
Facility Use for Outside Users
Palo Alto Unified School District is closed, this includes all facilities. At this time, PAUSD facilities are not open to outside users. We kindly request that no one comes onto PAUSD school campuses, offices, or teacher classrooms during this closure.