Mountain View Whisman School District
• Events:Many are postponed or canceled. Check for notifications.
At the Mountain View Whisman School District, new recommendations from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and other health agencies have led to updated practices the district has adopted, effective March 6, the district said in a written statement.
The district has postponed or canceled non-essential events depending on duration, attendee proximity and size. However, sports events and practices will continue as scheduled. Spectators should stay at arm's length from each other and high-risk spectators should avoid attending.
"The state of California has issued a state of emergency, a preparatory measure so that public agencies can have more access to federal resources to combat the coronavirus. There also have been recommendations about 'social distancing,' or ways people can reduce their close contact with others," according to the statement.
When it comes to preventing or mitigating the spread of the new coronavirus, students and staff are being reminded about hand washing and provided alcohol-based sanitizing wipes. The district will continue to disinfect and clean school facilities, including using industrial-grade misters to disinfect common high-traffic areas and classrooms regularly.
Masks aren't being recommended for healthy people at this time and the district won't be providing them to students. However, if parents want their child to wear his or her own mask at school, that request will be honored so long as it doesn't prove to be a classroom distraction. The district may ask families where they have traveled, and if there are concerns, district nurses may screen students.
Students being kept home due to concerns about the new coronavirus won't received excused absences unless their parents are under quarantine. Case-by-case accommodations may be made for children with underlying health conditions. People who care for a child with these conditions should consult with a healthcare provider about whether the child should stay home.
If a student or family in the district is confirmed to have COVID-19, the county's public health department will be in contact with the district and with the affected people. Students who show signs of illness will be assessed by a school nurse; students who demonstrate a fever and respiratory symptoms at school will be put in an isolation area with a surgical mask, if tolerated, before being picked up.
If a school closure were to happen, the district would permit distance learning, or having children do schoolwork online. While the district has the technology available, it states, it "does not replace the teacher in the classroom. It comes with its own challenges, especially for parents who still have to be present at their workplaces."
Many of these policies will remain in effect until June 4, with potential reconsideration on April 3. Access the full list of new policies at tinyurl.com/mv-schools3 .
Los Altos School District
• Events: Many are canceled. This includes off-site field trips. Check for notifications.
While schools remain open, events between now and Spring Break will be canceled depending on the event's size, duration and the expected attendees' age-group mix and ability to stay spread out. This guidance is in line with new guidance from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and the county Office of Education, according to a March 8 update from Los Altos School District Jeffrey Baier.
At the district's board meetings on March 9 and 12, people were asked to sit at arm's length from one another. Meetings will also be webcast. People may submit public comments to the board at [email protected]
In addition, the district will continue to conduct passport checks for newly registering students and ask anyone who has traveled to one of the countries identified at risk levels 2 or 3 in the last two weeks to self-quarantine and avoid school or work for 14 days after returning to the U.S.
At its March 9 meeting, the board voted unanimously to tentatively approve an emergency response plan, including options for distance learning.
Mountain View Los Altos High School District
• Schools: Open
• Events: Many are canceled. Access the full list at is.gd/mvla_cancel_list.
When it comes to local high schools, classes are being held as usual, for now. The district notes that children and teens have not been shown to be high-risk becoming seriously ill from the virus. The district recommends that students who feel ill stay home, according to a March 6 statement from the Mountain View Los Altos High School District.
The district has ordered a number of portable washing stations to be placed in strategic areas at Los Altos, Mountain View and Alta Vista high schools, as well as at Freestyle Academy, to encourage student hand-washing.
As of March 6, the district was working to develop a protocol for large gatherings like sports events and field trips.
"We are reviewing events and cancelling, if appropriate," said Superintendent Nellie Meyer in a statement.
As of March 10, many student events and trips were announced to be canceled or postponed. These include trips such as Los Altos High School's planned choir tour in New York City from March 13 to 17, and Mountain View High School's Madrigals Music Tour in New Zealand from March 27 to April 9 as well as a student acting trip to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon from April 3 to 7.
If a student or staff member at a school is confirmed to have COVID-19, the county public health department will consider whether it's warranted to close the school.
In addition to what local schools are doing, California health leaders have released new guidance for school districts, colleges and universities on how to respond to COVID-19, including preparing for potential school closures.
"It's a question of when — not if — some California public schools will face closure because of COVID-19," said Gov. Gavin Newsom, who declared a state of emergency in California last week. "School districts must prepare for these scenarios so that parents and children can plan for what would happen if their local school faced closure."
If a local public health department has confirmed two or more community transmission cases but no staff or students at a school have tested positive for COVID-19, the state Department of Public Health is recommending schools limit visitors; consider alternatives to large group events, such as assemblies; stagger recess time to limit the number of students who are together; and consider relaxing requirements for a doctor's note for students to come back to school after an illness.
If a single student, teacher or staff member tests positive for the new coronavirus and exposed others at school, public health officials suggest schools consult with their local public health departments to determine whether a school closure is warranted and for how long, "based on the risk level within the specific community as determined by the local public health officer." Schools should consider developing a plan for how to continue educating students, as well as to provide meal plans and medical and social services.
Other measures include canceling group activities or events, religious services, after-school classes and athletic events.
Schools should also develop communication plans and send information to parents and staff about labor laws, paid family leave, disability insurance and unemployment insurance, the state said. (The California Employee Development Department is encouraging people who are unable to work due to exposure to COVID-19 to file a disability insurance claim.)
In the most extreme scenario — multiple schools within a school district have a student, teacher or staff member test positive for the new coronavirus — administrators should consult with local public health officials to decide whether additional school closures are necessary.
State education and health leaders also urged "schools to ensure students' and staffs' privacy to help prevent discrimination or unnecessary stigmatization."
The Department of Public Health issued similar guidance for colleges and universities. Additional recommendations for higher-education institutions include immediately contacting their local public health department if administrators notice "concerning clusters of respiratory disease or spikes in absenteeism," and isolation guidelines for students, teachers or staff who test positive for COVID-19.
If more than five students, faculty or staff at a college or university test positive, administrators should work with local public officials on whether to close the campus.
At Stanford University, which moved all in-person classes online and has asked all undergraduate students to move out at the end of the quarter, a School of Medicine faculty member has tested positive for the new coronavirus and two undergraduate students were in self-isolation after possible exposure.
Public health officials continue to remind schools and the broader public of the precautions anyone should take to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, including washing hands frequently; covering sneezes or coughs; avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; staying home when sick; and seeking immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe.
—Elena Kadvany contributed to this report.
This story contains 1550 words.
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