MPCSD COVID-19 Response Team will present proposed re-opening plan at the June 4 school board meeting

by Contributed Content on June 2, 2020

Menlo Park City School District’s COVID-19 Response Team will recommend to the School Board at its June 4 regular meeting a model for reopening school on August 20, 2020. During its planning meetings, the team has thoughtfully considered the high-level decisions that must be made in advance of more detailed planning.

In order to move towards the task of outlining specific schedules, designing safety guidelines, and negotiating agreements with MPCSD’s two unions MPEA and CSEA, the C19 Team will recommend an alternating schedule in which the student population is divided into two groups, with alternating weeks of “socially distanced in-person instruction” and at-home learning.

The C19 Team evaluated multiple models against health and safety, instructional/learning benefit, equity, mental health, operations, impact on parents/staff, and other metrics.

Oak Knoll Elementary School Principal Kristen Gracia, who serves on the C19 Team, enthusiastically supports the EOW model. She says, “​The alternating week model seems to have the most benefit in terms of health and safety, while also providing students, teachers and parents consistency and routine that will support healthy habits and learning. ​There are challenges no matter how we slice it, but I am confident that together we will be able to move past the challenge and create a plan that works well and continues to support our values and goals as an education community.”

The C19 Team feels strongly that it is time to move forward with this recommendation to the School Board so that the hard work of planning the logistical details may begin at both district and site levels. The C19 Team also desires to give families as much lead time as possible to know the scenario and that knowing may alleviate some anxiety. MPCSD has communicated this plan, along with additional details for families, to its current and incoming parents. MPCSD is also committed to helping families solve for needed childcare when school is not physically in session every day, and is planning to help parents and teachers meet as many of those needs as possible.

While the alternating week model may be the best for MPCSD, Superintendent Burmeister acknowledges, “Other districts will choose options that look different. Every district has different needs and constraints, but all districts value the health, safety, and well being of their students, staff, and families. Based on their own context, districts will make the best and most viable solution for them. MPCSD considers the alternating week option without judgement of others and with a spirit of collegiality and respect.”

The public is invited to attend the School Board’s June 4 meeting, held at 6:00 p.m. over Zoom. For details on joining the meeting, ​please click here​. The Board will listen to public comment on this topic, deliberate amongst themselves in public, and ultimately reach a decision on accepting, modifying, or recommending an alternate to this model at its June 11, 2020 meeting.

Read Superintendent Burmeister’s letter to parents along with Q&A online.

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