Pleasanton Unified School District is dismissing class at all school sites to students starting Tuesday (March 17) until April 13 at the earliest after the Board of Trustees unanimously declared a state of emergency and supported the closures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community at an "unprecedented" emergency meeting Friday afternoon.
Every school in the district was already scheduled to be closed Friday as a student non-attendance and teacher non-work day, and families will have the option to report to school on Monday before school is dismissed. After Monday, school will be dismissed for the rest of the week while teachers "receive professional development and learn about delivering flexible instruction" and the process of checking out devices begins.
The two weeks after -- March 23 through April 3 -- flexible instruction and remote learning will start, with teachers providing daily instruction and feedback. Spring break will take place as planned April 6-10, during which time there will be no instruction. Flexible instruction and remote learning will start again April 13 with no end date determined yet.
Students in need of a Chromebook or WiFi hotspot to access remote learning materials can request a device and technology support through the district website. An email will be sent to students once their devices are ready for pickup at the district office, 4665 Bernal Ave. Distribution is scheduled to begin March 17.
Most attendees that spoke during the public comment portion supported the decision for a dismissal, calling it “critical” to move on mitigating the virus and flattening the epidemic curve, a statistical chart that illustrates when and how quickly new cases are reported. But one parent,
Said Ayar, said he believes “there’s a lot of hysteria behind this” and that people were “overreacting” despite recommendations from health officials to restrict public events and gatherings.
“If we find out next week there are cases in our school district, then we can come back and decide, ‘OK, now it’s time to shut down the schools and kids can learn at home. I think that would probably be a better plan,” Ayar said.
But several middle and high school students along with other community members disagreed. Devansh Pandey, who attends Pleasanton Middle School, said his school and others “are a hotbed for disease” and that closing them is necessary.
“Schools are far, far easier to spread and transmit just because of the amount of touching of people and surfaces and the lackluster hygiene standards that go on there,” Pandey said. “I know personally that a lot of students I know do not wash their hands ever, including after using the bathroom.”
Other Tri-Valley schools districts held similar discussions Friday; Dublin Unified School District Superintendent Dave Marken announced that he made the decision to “suspend classes beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, April 10, 2020, with classes resuming on Monday, April 13, 2020.” The Board of Trustees made a unanimous advisory vote during a special emergency meeting on Friday during the same time PUSD held theirs. District offices will also be closed to the public and will not receive phone calls or in-person visits.
Dublin teachers will share lesson plans with families and students will be expected to complete assignments while campuses are closed. “Because we are in uncharted territory, this process will likely include some speedbumps and we ask for your patience as we navigate this journey together. We understand that nothing can replace the interaction between students and instructional staff in the classroom,” Marken said.
“We’d like to make it clear--do not, under any circumstances, expect individual learning plans for each and every one of our over 12,900 students,” he added.
DUSD students currently receiving meal assistance will still have access to a “grab and go” bagged breakfast and lunch during the suspension period, including over spring break. Meals will be available at Dublin High School, 8151 Village Parkway, and Cottonwood Creek Elementary, 2400 Central Parkway from 7 to 9 a.m. for breakfast and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch. Meals will be available but seating will not be offered at either site. Families can review the menu and pre-order meals on the DUSD website next week. Those who need meal assistance can apply at https://www.myschoolapps.com/Application at least 48 hours before they plan to receive breakfast and lunch.
DUSD is also “finalizing a plan to allow students to borrow a Chromebook and/or wireless Internet access point so that they may continue to have access to online curricular resources for the duration of the suspension of regular school activities.” The devices will be checked out and returned “in a similar fashion to a library book.” Details about the program will be available soon, according to the district.
Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District also held an emergency Board meeting on Friday afternoon and voted to dismiss their schools beginning Monday through April. “Acting in the best interest of the health and safety of our students, staff, families, and community, our Board of Education, at the recommendation of our superintendent, Dr. Kelly Bowers, voted unanimously to dismiss schools, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, April 3, 2020,” the district said on their website. “We expect to resume in-class learning at our schools on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, following our regularly scheduled Spring Break (April 6 - 13, 2020).”
Flexible learning opportunities that can be accessed from home will also be available for LVJUSD students during the suspension period; an email with more information will be sent to families next week. Philomena Rambo, district director of community engagement, said their child nutrition services department “will offer all children aged 18 and younger free meal pick-up service at East Avenue Middle School (3951 East Ave.), Junction Avenue K-8 School (298 Junction Avenue) and Marylin Avenue Elementary School (800 Marylin Avenue). We will offer delivery from the inside (center) of the drop off loop from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Monday - Friday, March 16 - April 3. Each child will receive a breakfast and lunch.”
Health experts strongly recommend the public follows these steps to minimize their risk of COVID-19 transmission:
* Wash hands with liquid soap and water and rub for at least 20 seconds;
* Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
* Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
* Stay home when you are sick; and
* Get a flu shot to protect yourself and others from the flu, which has similar symptoms to COVID19.
People who are healthy do not need to use a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19. A face mask is recommended for those who are coughing or sneezing to protect others from getting sick.
ACPHD has a webpage dedicated to updates, advice and information about COVID-19 at http://acphd.org/2019-ncov.aspx.