Actions taken by city of Menlo Park and local schools in response to COVID-19

by Linda Hubbard on March 12, 2020

Important update: Yesterday we posted a link to Pandemic Influenza and Respiratory Illness Preparation and Response: A Citizen’s GuideSome readers reported trouble downloading it. Here are two remedies: 1) Using Safari, when you are on the page, go to File in menu bar and select “export as a PDF”; 2) In Firefox, use the little down arrow in the upper right corner to download.

The response and actions regarding the coronavirus are changing quickly. For the latest updates, visit menlopark.org/coronavirus and subscribe to “Menlo Park City News” at menlopark.org/notifyme. For school information, go to the specific district’s website.

The San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times are both offering coronavirus information to non-subscribers as well as subscribers.

Yesterday (March 11, 2020) Menlo Park City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson signed a Proclamation of Local Emergency within the city of Menlo Park to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City Council unanimously voted to ratify the proclamation of local emergency in Menlo Park, authorizing the City Manager to adopt emergency orders or regulations to ensure the health and well-being of the public and to mitigate the effects of the local emergency. The City Council further directed staff to take immediate action to temporarily close public facilities and suspend programs.

Effective immediately, city facilities will be closed to the public, with the exception of senior services and childcare centers, which will close at the end of business, Friday, March 13. This is to allow patrons, participants and parents to make alternate arrangements over the weekend.

According to Library Director Sean Reinhart, library staff are working an FAQ with more detailed information for library users (access to library books, etc.) within the next 24 hours.

In a letter dated March 11, Erik Burmeister, Superintendent of Menlo Park City School District wrote: “MPCSD’s goal is to find a middle ground between shutting everything down and continuing our normal program. To preserve the health of our students, staff, and community as well as provide equity of access to our public schools, I have directed our staff to begin implementing a “Social Distancing Plan.”

“Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, Menlo Park City School District schools will remain open; however, Distance Learning will be available and is recommended to all families who have the ability to keep children home .

“This Social Distancing Plan will remain in effect until March 26; MPCSD begins its Spring Break March 27. Regardless of which option works best for your family, all students will be considered “present” for the purposes of attendance. We will reevaluate the situation at the end of March to make decisions about what school will look like after Spring Break.”

Dr. Beth Polito of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District, announced that there will be a “no student day” on Monday, March 16, 2020, writing “The district leadership team has decided to take a full day without students on Monday to work with our staff to prepare for a potential school closure and subsequent distance learning.”

Menlo-Atherton High School remains open although Mary Streshly, Superintendent of the Sequoia Union High School District said that “non-essential” activities may be canceled, postponed and/or modified. These include, among others, large school assemblies, concerts, performing arts events and facility rentals by outside groups.

Regarding local Catholic schools, the Archdiocese of San Francisco has closed its school buildings, canceled classes, and student-related activities from March 12 through March 25, 2020. This closure applies to Archdiocesan 90 preschools, elementary and high schools. This closure means that school buildings will not be open to children, parents, or community members.

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