Coronavirus communications Jan -April 2020

April 1, School closure extended through June 5
 

COVID-19: The next step: Distance Learning and understanding how we can support you

Dear Parents and Friends,

We are in a period of transition. As you may have heard, the state of California and Santa Clara County decided today that school buildings are to be closed through the end of the school year. The next time our students return to classrooms will be in August.

We know school closure poses challenges and hardship to many families, but educational and health agencies believe it’s one of the most effective ways to slow and disrupt the transmission of COVID-19 in this pandemic. The news is encouraging. California, specifically the Bay Area, is showing reduction in the virus transmission rates. I’m grateful that we have taken seriously the orders to stay home and socially distance ourselves.

To be clear, the 2019-20 school year is not over. When we first announced a temporary closure, we took our first step toward distance learning by transitioning from classroom instruction into flexible learning. Our students have been connecting with each other and their teachers, online, by email and phone, and are engaged in optional learning activities suggested by their teachers.

The next step for MVWSD is distance learning. Next week (April 6-10) is spring break, and we’ll be hard at work completing a distance learning plan for students to begin after break.

As we work on this distance learning plan, we want to hear from you about what is working well and what challenges are you currently facing with supporting your children’s learning from home. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts in this online discussion. Click here to access the ThoughtExchange.

So what is distance learning and how is it different from e-learning / virtual learning and flexible learning options? Distance learning specifically means that there is a physical separation between the teacher and the student. Whereas virtual and e-learning require the student to have a device and may or may not be in the presence of the teacher. When school is in session, our teachers facilitate e-learning in the classroom on a daily basis. In a distance learning setting, instruction can occur through workbooks, packets or online activities (synchronous and/or asynchronous). Flexible learning options denote that the location and the assignments are flexible in nature.

We’ve been preparing for distance learning since the closure of schools on March 13. While our students have been learning at home, we’ve completed our assessment of our families’ technology, as well as two Chromebook distributions. Over the past two weeks, we have distributed 320 Chromebooks to students who need them. This is in addition to the 600 refurbished Chromebooks that we passed out around Thanksgiving. Still, even now, 10% (615) of our students need a device, and 5% (247) students still need internet access. We just placed an order for a supplier’s last 200 Chromebooks, funded by a grant from a corporate partner.

These statistics tell us that e-learning is not possible, but expanding distance learning is. We know we cannot rely solely on online learning to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education to all students. Our Distance Learning Plan will facilitate education when a teacher is not physically present. There are tried and true ways to tackle this that do not mean just putting students in front of a computer, although online and computer-based learning can be part of a distance learning plan.

At the Board meeting on Thursday, we’ll be talking about grading, assessments, pass fail, promotions and learning in light of this lengthy school closure. We anticipate that the California Department of Education will have guidance for some of these topics, as well as about some of the tougher obstacles for distance learning.

Thank you for being on this journey with us. I am grateful everyday for our community and the support you show for our schools and students. Look for more communication from us after spring break.

Respectfully,
Dr. Ayindé Rudolph
Superintendent 

The County of Santa Clara Public Health has extended the previous stay-at-home order through May 3, 2020. Use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas, and similar shared recreational areas is now prohibited. All individuals currently living within the County are ordered to shelter at their place of residence and leave only for essential activities. More information here.

The Special Education Department has been supporting students with Flexible Learning Options during COVID-19 school closure. Just as general education teachers, special education teachers are connecting with parents and their students through daily office hours and regular meetings and messages. They are identifying and sharing resources to support parents while at home with their children. Additionally, they are collaborating with general education teachers to provide strategies and support for special ed students. Very soon the department, with guidance from state and federal educational agencies, will provide teletherapy to qualifying students. These virtual therapy services include speech, occupational, clinical, vision, physical and augmented alternative communication. For any questions, please contact your child’s case manager or Arianna Mayes, Director of Special Education.

March 25, School closure extended through May 1

 

Coronavirus update: School closure extended through May 1

Dear Parents and Friends,

Today, the County of Santa Clara Public Health and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, with five other Bay Area counties, recommended that all school districts extend their school closures past the initial April 10th end date in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. MVWSD will adhere to these guidelines and will remain closed through May 1 with students returning on Monday, May 4, 2020. The Santa Clara Department of Public Health, in coordination with the six Bay Area County Superintendents and five County Public Health leads, plan to revisit this decision again later in April. For regular updates, please visit www.mvwsd.org/coronavirus.

School facilities are closed to the public, but may remain open to staff for the purposes of performing tasks deemed essential by MVWSD. During this time, residents are expected to adhere to the “Shelter in Place” Orders issued by Public Health Officers on March 16 and stay home except for essential activities.

We understand how challenging these circumstances are for our families, and we appreciate your support and patience. We are very grateful for all that our students, staff and parents are doing to support flexible learning and feeding our children.

During closure:

* MVWSD will continue to provide free meals to students who rely on us for support while our campuses are closed for instruction. Free meals for children under the age of 18 will be at Gabriela Mistral Elementary (505 Escuela Ave) parking lot from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free lunch and breakfast for the next day will be available in this location every weekday until school reopens. For more information: www.mvwsd.org/nutrition

* MVWSD will continue to provide Flexible Learning Options that include optional online learning, suggested activities, resources, and regular check-ins from teachers on internet-enabled devices families have at home, or on borrowed MVWSD devices. We’ll continue to support your students with as many engaging activities, conversations, projects and encouragement as we can. For more information: www.mvwsd.org/flexiblelearningoptions

Remember:
* Stay home!
* Symptoms to watch for include a fever over 100 degrees; respiratory illness such as cough or difficulty breathing. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen.
* Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.
Stay 6 feet or more away from strangers and those who are ill
* Stop shaking hands with others to reduce the spread of germs
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
* Sneeze and cough into a tissue or your sleeve; safely throw away used tissues

These are difficult and uncertain times. We know many of our families are struggling with the effects of the necessary stay-at-home order, including physical and emotional wellness for themselves and their loved ones, childcare for those whose jobs are deemed essential, and security of jobs and housing. MVWSD staff will continue to help to the best of our abilities. Click here for info about help with meals, rent, legal issues, emotional support and more.  We’ll continue to stay in close contact with you in the days ahead.

Respectfully,
Dr. Ayindé Rudolph
Superintendent

 


March 24, Flexible Learning Options, Chromebooks, resources

The difference: Flexible Learning Options and distance learning

Dear Parents and Friends,

This time of sheltering in place due to COVID-19 has made some stark realities in our community come to the forefront. We live and work in a community in which some families live in RVs and some in homes worth $3 million (or more). In one day in the last week, our District provided 2,600 free meals to families in need in Mountain View and Los Altos, including those in LASD and MVLA.

Thirty-five percent of our students are English learners, 15% receive special education services and 34% are socio-economically disadvantaged. These statistics present a situation that makes Mountain View unique among our neighbors. The districts that we are often compared to do not have our same characteristics. While many of our students have the resources, devices and internet access to learn online during school closure, these numbers show that a sizable part of our population cannot access online instruction.

Yes, we are in Silicon Valley, but distance learning is not just putting a Chromebook into the hands of every student and a teacher on the internet. Instruction requires access to language and experiential learning in an environment in which distractions are limited. When school is in session, we can control for some of these variables. Distance learning is not for students who are struggling with English, or students who require in-person contact with their teachers, or students who don’t have regular, nutritious meals. Can we provide virtual/distance learning? In a perfect world, yes, but it is not possible under our current constraints. Some of the largest districts in the U.S. with the biggest budgets have not yet figured out how to do it.

But this does not mean our students aren’t continuing to learn. Teachers and administrators are working hard to provide a Flexible Learning Options program that includes optional online learning, suggested activities, resources, and regular check-ins from teachers. You’ve probably already heard from your school this week with these resources. We’ll continue to support your students with as many engaging activities, conversations, projects and encouragement as we can. We’ll continue to support students by working with the business community to secure donations like the ones we’ve received that are helping MVWSD provide free meals and digital tools. We’ll continue to support students by distributing Chromebooks and internet access information (see details below about this week’s distribution).

The California Department of Education has made it clear that we have to comply with the law and meet all students’ needs equitably in any instructional program we provide. We couldn’t agree more. We will not provide one subset of students a kind of education that is different from another. Our commitment is to all of our kids. Just as battling COVID-19 is a community effort, public education, especially in times like these, is inclusive of all children.

This is a really difficult time for us all. I know you’re working hard to balance jobs and caring for kids and family members. We’re working hard to provide educational resources in ways that are totally new to us, while caring for our own families. When COVID-19 passes - and it will - we will be here to partner with our families, identify any instructional gaps and work hard to catch students up on what they missed. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves and your family and each other.

Respectfully,
Dr. Ayindé Rudolph
Superintendent

Chromebooks and schoolwork packets: Offered again this week

MVWSD will again offer Chromebooks to families who need them. We think that it’s important that each of our families has one Internet-ready device (laptop, iPad, etc) in their house for schoolwork. Our middle school students already have one Chromebook per student. For any of our elementary school students who don’t already have one device in their house, on Wednesday, March 25, families may sign up for a Chromebook during free meal service held from 11:30 am to 1 pm at Gabriela Mistral Elementary, 505 Escuela Ave. After you sign up, Chromebooks should be picked up on Friday, March 27 between 11:30 am and 1 pm at Gabriela Mistral Elementary, 505 Escuela Ave.

There are a limited number of grade-level schoolwork packets available outside the District Office (the side facing Stevenson Elementary), 1400 Montecito Ave., beginning Tuesday, March 24.

Emotional, logistics support resources for families

Our School Community Engagement Facilitators have teamed up to provide a list of resources for families. Sheltering in place and not being in our regular routines of work and school can be hard on our emotional and mental health, in addition to making access to meals, rent payments and other typical activities more difficult.

Click here for info about help with meals, rent, legal issues, emotional support and more

Click here for a Letter from CHAC about services and tele-health appointments during school closure.

 

From the City: Sign up to get regular COVID-19 updates

The City of Mountain View’s strategic communications team is offering regular updates about COVID-19 response and resources. Residents may text 'MVCOVID' to 22828 to have the digest sent right to their emails every day. Here is the link to the latest issue. The City’s COVID-19 response and resources webpage is www.mountainview.gov/covid

March 21, Joint Letter (MVLA, LASD) Keep Neighbors Healthy

Dear Mountain View, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills Families,

Local authorities have shared with us their concerns and observations that groups of children and teenagers are out and about and seeming to ignore the social distancing protocols. As the superintendents charged with the education and well-being of local children, and as your neighbors, we want to provide clear and specific guidance related to the directive on social distancing and shelter in place in place for our community. As COVID-19 continues to spread at an alarming rate throughout the state and nation, it is absolutely essential that we all do our part to protect our communities and look out for one another by complying with these directives.

Please take a look at these helpful FAQs from Santa Clara County Public Health Department to understand how to follow the directives.
English FAQ

Spanish FAQ

Chinese FAQ

Here are some simple tips:

  • Please adhere closely to the directives and guidance from Public Health and make clear to your family that you expect them to do the same.
  • Practice excellent hygiene and pay close attention to your health.
  • Please continue to buy only normal quantities of essential supplies, food and medicine. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential services will remain open. 

We know many of our families may have questions about these regulations and how to follow them with children and young adults at home. While children may not be as susceptible to serious illness from the novel coronavirus, they can still get sick and spread disease to those who are most vulnerable. Please be sure your children are practicing strict social distancing and excellent hygiene.

Here are some tips health experts are passing along to those of us with children or teenagers at home:

Do:

  1. Do allow children and teens to get outside daily in a setting where they can maintain proper social distancing of six feet from others. This could include playing games in the backyard, or taking a walk, run or hike.
  2. Do encourage your children to maintain regular contact via phone or video chat with friends and relatives. Give them the time to socialize.
  3. Do find the time to play games, read books and discuss what your children do each day, including distance learning.
  4. Do take the time to listen to one another and share your feelings. Adults balancing work and all-day childcare are undoubtedly stressed, as are children. 

Do Not:

  1. Do not organize play groups or play dates for young children or gatherings for teenagers in your home or in the homes of others.
  2. Do not allow your children and teens to meet up at a park or other areas in the neighborhood, unless you or another adult will be able to supervise and ensure the six-feet separation rule.
  3. Do not allow your children and teens to go hang out at schools. Our custodians have been working very hard to keep our schools sanitized and safe, and with schools closed, there is no reason for anyone to be on campus right now.
  4. Do not allow your children to go outside of the home or the backyard if they are exhibiting any signs of illness, especially a fever, cough or runny nose.
  5. Do not engage in any non-essential travel, even within California or the Bay Area. This is particularly important as Spring Break approaches. Please note that most airlines, hotels and other tourism related businesses are providing refunds and credits.

It is up to all of us--every member of our community--to protect public health. We have the ability, by working together, to mitigate this devastating health crisis.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Baier, Superintendent, Los Altos School District
Nellie Meyer, Superintendent, Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District
Ayindé Rudolph, Superintendent, Mountain View Whisman School District

March 20, Flexible Learning Options
On Wednesday, I had the privilege of working alongside my colleagues at Mistral Elementary to help serve meals to families, hand out homework packets and sign up students for Chromebooks and internet access. (see the video here ). In all my years in education, both as an educator and as a student, I’ve never had an experience similar to this one. Having schools closed in an effort to slow COVID-19’s spread is disorienting and anxiety-producing, both for students and adults. Still, I saw a lot of smiles as families got what they needed, and I was filled with gratitude for all that we still have and all that we are doing together to keep even our most vulnerable community members safe and healthy.

Wednesday highlighted that teachers and schools play a vital role in our community and society as a whole.  They provide a sense of normalcy and continuity to our students.  Teachers and schools provide our students with adults who care.  And most importantly, they allow our students to reach their full potential.  

As we move into our second week of school closure, we want to ensure that our students and families have access to resources for instruction and learning, as well as access to their teachers.  While we are not expecting students to complete work and turn it in, we do want students and families to have flexible learning options to keep students’ skills sharp.  

Please take advantage of these resources as part of MVWSD’s Flexible Learning Options
Optional student school work packets
Online learning resources
A sample daily schedule (includes Spanish)

In addition to the work packets, Chromebooks, and online resources we’re providing, we believe that it is important for teachers to continue to connect with their students and families on a regular basis. Teachers can also provide comfort and consistency during these unprecedented times.  

Starting next week, all MVWSD teachers, while working at home, will do the following for their students and families.  

1. Send personal messages to our students and families at least two times per week (This includes Special Education teachers, case managers and STEAM teachers). The format can be video, email, or audio.  

2. Share weekly activities on Mondays on Google Classroom, Zearn, email and/or other platforms that are designed for their students, as well as serve as resources for parents.

3. Set up daily virtual office hours for families to assist with questions, concerns or other items.  This will be a two-hour block of time each day that you can connect with teachers.  

We are all doing our best with this new normal of staying home. We know you are your child’s first teacher, and that you need our help to keep life moving right now. We will continue to partner together to get through these trying times.  Please look for an email next week from your child(rens) teacher with more information about how they're going to stay connected to our students. If you do not hear from your child’s teacher, please reach out to your principal.

We know you are juggling teaching, working and caring for others during this surreal time, and that is not easy. We, like you, are doing our best to keep up with the changes and the impact on our students’ ability to learn.  Short of reopening schools, there is no perfect answer with these current limitations to providing the best education possible for our students, but we will continue to evolve our approach as time passes. Thank you for your flexibility, support, and patience. 

Respectfully,

Dr. Ayindé Rudolph
Superintendent

Updates on recent questions from parents: 
 
State testing: The State has suspended all state testing, (CAASPP, ELPAC, CAST, physical fitness test) that was originally scheduled for the rest of the school year. As all districts are, we are awaiting further guidance from the California Department of Education.

Length of closure: Gov. Newsom said in a recent press conference that being closed until the end of the school year is a possibility for California schools, but we don’t know yet for sure. Health officials are closely tracking the COVID-19 situation. We’ll continue to work with the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the County of Santa Clara Department of Public Health, the lead agency in health-related emergencies, and will update you as more information becomes available.
 
School year length: This week, the Legislature and the Governor took special action to support agencies grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, including passage of SB 117, a bill providing relief to school districts. This bill waives Education Code provisions regarding instructional day and minute requirements for schools closed due to COVID-19. As a result, we don’t expect that any days will be added to the end of our school year. 
 
Closure’s effect on next year: We don’t anticipate that this closure will have any effect on students' grades or promotion to their next grade level. All Districts are waiting for further guidance from the California Department of Education on this topic. In August, MVWSD will use beginning-of-the-year assessments, like i-Ready, to measure students’ academic levels. We’ll use assessment data to develop instructional plans to meet students’ needs, including any remediation needed because class time was missed this spring.
March 16, Schoolwork and shelter in place

Dear Parents and Friends,

As you know, all MVWSD schools and sites are closed to the public and students from now through the end of spring break, Friday, April 10, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

During this time, we are required to practice social distancing. New Shelter in Place order: In our county, non-essential gatherings of any size are now banned, and we should stay home unless it’s necessary to go out. As long as we keep six feet away from anyone we don’t already live with, we may shop for necessary supplies - such as food - access health care, provide aid and assistance to family and friends, and go outside for walks or exercise. For more information on this order, please see: www.sccgov.org/.

While we cannot anticipate the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are hopeful that we will be able to resume regular classes on Monday, April 13. We do not know yet how or if these missed days will affect the length of the school year.

Meals
Starting Wednesday, March 18, MVWSD will provide free meals to students who rely on us for support while our campuses are closed for instruction. Free meals for children under the age of 18 will be at Gabriela Mistral Elementary (505 Escuela Ave) parking lot from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free lunch and breakfast for the next day will be available in this location every weekday until school reopens.

Flexible Learning
As we’re settling into our new normal of staying at home, MVWSD has flexible options for students to continue their learning. There are optional grade-level packets and online resources in the links below. Parents and students can log onto Clever.com (directions on the packet) for online learning resources like i-Ready, Khan Academy, Zearn, etc.

If you'd like a paper copy of the packet, on Wednesday, March 18 they will be available at the MVWSD food truck at Gabriela Mistral Elementary (505 Escuela Ave) from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. and at your child’s school from 9 am- 2 pm.

Websites supporting online learning

Transitional kindergarten
Kindergarten
First grade
Second grade
Third grade
Fourth grade
Fifth grade
Sixth grade (click on a pathway below. Each pathway includes both math and English language arts)
6.1
6.2
Seventh grade (click on a pathway below. Each pathway includes both math and English language arts)
7.0
7.1
7.2
Eighth grade (click on a pathway below. Each pathway includes both math and English language arts)
8.0
8.1
8.2

Internet access/computers
For families without internet access, MVWSD will provide Chromebooks with connection to Xfinity WiFi with priority for students at Mariano Castro, Gabriela Mistral and Monta Loma. Families may sign up on Wednesday, March 18 at the Gabriela Mistral Elementary (505 Escuela Ave) parking lot from 11:30 a.m. to 1pm. for Chromebook pickup on Friday.

These are difficult and uncertain times. In order to make this time most effective in fighting the spread of COVID-19, and for your health and your children's health, please limit time spent outside your residence. Please continue to check www.mvwsd.org/coronavirus and social media for updates.

Respectfully,
Dr. Ayindé Rudolph
Superintendent

March 13, School Closing
We are guided by our top priority of protecting the health and safety of our school district community, as well as our responsibility to our community to take proactive steps in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. 

After much thought and deliberation, and in close collaboration with the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the County of Santa Clara Department of Public Health, MVWSD, MVLA and LASD together will close their schools. MVWSD will close all MVWSD schools and sites starting Monday, March 16 through the end of spring break, Friday, April 10. 

While school is closed, please practice social distancing. This means staying home as much as possible, avoiding large groups and limiting visits to public areas. 

While we cannot anticipate the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are hopeful that we will be able to resume regular classes on Monday, April 13. We do not know yet how or if these missed days will affect the length of the school year.

The specifics as we know them now:

* We are committed to our employees and respect their need to care for themselves and their families. We want to ensure that none of our employees are penalized financially for closure. All regular salaried and hourly employees (including contractors) will continue to be paid during school closure.

* Except for some essential staff, employees do not have to report to work during closure. Supervisors/Principals will notify the few individuals who are essential. 

* Before and afterschool care (YMCA, Right at School, Beyond the Bell) and MVWSD Preschool is closed Monday, March 16 - Friday, April 10. Staff development scheduled for Tuesday is cancelled.

* We will continue to provide meals to students who rely on us for support. While our campuses are closed for instruction, our Food and Nutrition Services Department will utilize the district's food truck to serve meals to children under the age of 18 near Castro Elementary/Gabriela Mistral Elementary campus.

* If your student has an Individualized Educational Program (IEP), we will be sending you a separate communication.

* The District will provide flexible learning options for students during this time.  The District will provide grade-level packets with student work for use during school closure. We’ll contact families with specifics about how to access these resources.  Additionally, parents and students can log onto Clever.com for online learning resources like i-Ready, Khan Academy, Zearn, etc. 

* For families without internet access, MVWSD can provide Comcast credits for temporary free internet access with priority for students at Castro, Mistral and Monta Loma. With Comcast’s recent offer, eligible families can have up to 5 months free. We know that we have approximately 200 students without regular internet access. We will also be distributing Chromebooks for students who need them for learning. We’ll have more information about this process soon.

* As we navigate through this unchartered territory, thank you for your support and flexibility. I want to thank our Board of Trustees, and our neighboring districts - MVLA and LASD - and for their leadership and care for our students, staff and families. We are grateful for our staff members’ and families’ patience and trust as we work together to maintain some sense of normalcy in these difficult times. 

We'll update you regularly. Please continue to check this page and our social media. 

Dr. Ayindé Rudolph
Superintendent
March 12, Sports and Absences
We continue to monitor the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, and have again updated our protocols to help keep our students, staff members and families healthy. 

Middle school sports and athletics practices are cancelled until further notice. We’ll revisit this status during spring break (April 6-10). We believe this is an important safeguard for our student athletes.

* In the event of potential school closure, our Food and Nutrition Services Department will utilize the district's food truck to serve meals to children under the age of 18 near Castro Elementary/Gabriela Mistral Elementary campus, as part of the Seamless Summer program.

* We are in the process of creating grade-level packets with student work for use through spring break. The District will provide information to families on how they can access packets beginning Wednesday, March 18. These packets are designed to reinforce concepts already taught. Additionally, parents and students can log onto Clever.com for online learning resources like i-Ready, Khan Academy, Zearn, etc.  This is not a replacement for classroom instruction.

Absences: The Santa Clara County Office of Education and County of Santa Clara Department of Health continue the guidance that students who are well continue to attend school. We understand that families can still make a choice to keep their children at home during this time, and we want to honor that choice. For the next few weeks, we will not be taking any truancy action or dis-enrolling students accruing unexcused absences. 

The decision-making process for potential school closure is that we continue to assess the situation on an almost-daily basis with the County of Santa Clara Department of Health and Santa Clara County Office of Education. The possibility of school closure is more imminent as districts and organizations around the area close in an attempt to curtail the potential spread of the virus. It is wise that families now prepare plans for child care. We will continue to update you and will provide any details as soon as we have them.

All of our communications are on this page, including the latest District COVID Actions document. (COVID actions in Spanish is here)

Respectfully,

Dr. Ayindé Rudolph, 
Superintendent
March 11, COVID-19 Action Chart
We take COVID-19 (coronavirus) seriously, and continue to proactively add protocols that will help keep our students and families healthy. Our actions are not decided lightly. We are working in coordination with the Santa Clara County Office of Education, County of Santa Clara Department of Health and with the superintendents of our neighboring districts to take proactive steps to keep kids safe.

County Public Health regularly announces new actions to prevent possible spread of COVID 19 in our community. We not only meet, but continually exceed these parameters in an effort to protect our students, staff and families - especially those who are most vulnerable. We continue to limit all non-essential activities to reduce the possibility of any potential transmission and keep our community safe. We’ll revisit the status of events and activities over spring break (April 6-10).

There are new actions that we have added to our actions chart (The link to the updated District actions document is hereDistrict actions document in Spanish). The highlights of the newly-added actions:

Volunteers: We must ask that volunteers not come to campus for the next few weeks, for their health and that of our students. We appreciate our volunteers' understanding and apologize for the inconvenience. 

* Field trips: Field trips are cancelled through April 10. This includes school-sponsored festivals and competitions, concerts, trips to Disneyland or Great America, for example.

* Non-essential travel of both students and staff is suspended due to the potential of increasing the risk of transmission of novel coronavirus into other communities.

* School-contracted programs on campus from outside providers: (examples: Olimpico afterschool programs, Living Classroom, Harmony Plus Parent education, Imagineerz Learning, Friends of Vision Literacy, LEAP classes, etc. ) are cancelled or postponed. Afterschool care programs such as Beyond the Bell, Right at School, YMCA, etc., continue to operate

Vendor-provided programs on campus for students not contracted by District/school: (examples: Run for Fun, CSMA afterschool classes, Basketball, etc.) will not be holding meetings and practices on MVWSD’s campuses starting March 16 through April 3. 

Work for students with extended absences: In lieu of providing independent study, we are in the process of creating grade-level packets with student work for use through spring break. These packets are designed to reinforce concepts already taught. Additionally, parents and students can log onto Clever.com for online learning resources like i-Ready, Khan Academy, Zearn, etc. For this week, absent students can use Clever.com and read at home. Due to capacity, schools will not be providing missed assignments or providing work ahead of absences this week. The District will provide information to families on how they can access packets beginning Wednesday, March 18. 

We want to clarify topics that have come up since Saturday’s communication.

In the event of potential school closure: The Public Health Department currently is not recommending closing schools. If a staff member or student in a specific school is confirmed to have COVID-19, the Public Health Department will consider, based on the specific facts and circumstances of that case, whether closure of that school is warranted. Public Health’s guidance is that the disruption caused by school closure currently outweighs the potential benefits of using school closure to slow disease transmission. Closing schools is a last resort and will be done with great care, transparency, and in partnership with Public Health. The County may revisit these recommendations based on public health needs. School closure may be of short duration to allow deep cleaning to occur, or of longer duration, depending on the circumstances of the situation, and will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Absences: The Santa Clara County Office of Education and County of Santa Clara Department of Health continue the guidance that school sites remain open and that students who are well continue to attend school. As MVWSD is required by California Education Code, we will continue to code any student who chooses to not attend school based on the concern of contracting the COVID-19 virus as “unexcused.” That being said, we also understand that families can still make a choice to keep their children at home during this time. For the next few weeks, we will not be taking any truancy action or dis-enrolling students accruing unexcused absences. 

Distance learning: If school closure were to occur, the District would work to provide continued learning at home for students. While it is one option, distance learning is not the best instructional option for our students. There is technology for distance learning, but the technology does not replace the teacher in the classroom. MVWSD is actively working on what temporary remote learning could look like. 

Athletics and Performing Arts: The County’s direction is that all middle school sporting events will continue to occur, but spectators should stay at arms-length distance from each other. Spectators in high risk groups are discouraged from attending. The County considers athletic events different than performing arts events, because in a gym or on a field, it’s more likely that attendees can move far enough away from each other, unlike an auditorium. 

Fake websites: Some schools across the state and nation are getting spoofed by fake news websites with false information about COVID-19 cases in their area. Please refer to mvwsd.org/coronavirus for accurate and updated information and for links to County Public Health.

These are trying times, and while we always appreciate parents’ support, we do so even more now. Thanks for taking care of our students and each other. 

March 7, Added COVID-19 Guidelines
The news about the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve. We are having regular conference calls with the County of Santa Clara Department of Public Health, the lead agency during a public health emergency. Current information about the coronavirus and what MVWSD is on this webpage, including links to the County of Santa Clara Department of Public Health. All of our work over the last five weeks on our response to coronavirus has been guided by the importance of the health and well-being of our students, staff and families.

There are some new developments since our last communication. Major local employers, such as Apple and Google, are limiting or cancelling business travel and/or encouraging employees to work from home. 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.

The County of Santa Clara Department of Public Health is reiterating that the best way to protect ourselves and others is to continue preventative measures:

1. Wash our hands frequently and avoid touching our faces
2. Stay home if we are sick (don’t return to school/work unless fever-free without fever-reducing medication - such as Tylenol or Motrin - for at least 24 hours and symptoms are abating). 

Additionally, the County of Santa Clara Department of Public Health newly recommends: 

3. Encourage those who are at higher risk for serious illness to not attend large events. Higher risk is defined as people over 50 years of age; or people, regardless of age, with underlying health conditions
4. Avoid visiting hospitals and long-term care centers
5. Try to find ways to give people more physical space so that they aren’t in close contact as much as possible.

You are essential to all of our preparations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please carefully review the District’s actions below, which includes information on cancelling/postponing non-essential events. We are aware of the disruptions these required actions will cause, but the health of all of our students, staff and families is paramount. 

Thank you for your support during this time.

Click here for MVWSD's Coronavirus/COVID-19 Actions, Updated March 6, 2020

Click here for MVWSD's Coronavirus/COVID-19 Actions - Spanish
March 3, Guidelines and Absences
We are continuing to closely monitor the news about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Just yesterday, we had two planning meetings with the Centers for Disease Control and the County of Santa Clara Department of Public Health, the lead agency during a public health emergency. 

What came from that meeting was loud and clear. The best way to protect ourselves and others is to continue preventative measures:

1. Wash our hands frequently and avoid touching our faces
2. Stay home if we are sick (don’t return to school/work unless fever-free without fever-reducing medication - such as Tylenol or Motrin - for at least 24 hours and symptoms are abating). 

Current information about the coronavirus and what MVWSD is doing to combat it is available here.

Here are responses to some questions that have come up since our last communication:

Will students be excused from school if parents want to keep them home to prevent exposure to other people? 
State and county educational agencies have made it clear that students should not receive excused absences for this reason. An exception would be for children whose parents are under quarantine, in coordination with their health care provider and/or employer. Independent study requests will not be approved for non-quarantine cases.

How would we know if school would be closed due to potential coronavirus cases?
Mountain View Whisman Schools, in collaboration with Public Health and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, would make the decision in the unlikely event that school would need to be cancelled due to sickness. If this were to occur, the District would work to provide continued learning at home for students. It is possible that the Department of Public Health would recommend cancelling school events, meetings and extracurricular events before the determination of a school closure.  

What communication would we receive if there was a coronavirus case among MVWSD families?
If any of our students or families were under quarantine, Public Health would be in contact with us. Public Health would track and follow up on any potential exposure and guide us in any notifications to families. Once a potentially-exposed student is cleared from quarantine, Public Health would notify us, and the District would work to coordinate a student’s return to school. As always, MVWSD would treat situations relating to students' health with sensitivity and with confidentiality, as outlined in federal law (FERPA).

Even though these are anxious times, it’s important to remember that the health risk to the general public in California from novel coronavirus remains low. We feel grateful to work in a community that cares so much about its children. 

February 28, Planning and Pandemic Plan
We are continuing to closely monitor the news about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Current information is available through the links above to the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health.

It’s been reported that coronavirus has spread to other countries outside China. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has expressed increased concern for travel to South Korea, Japan, and Italy, while lowering its level of concern for Hong Kong and Taiwan. As has been in effect since February 3, travelers from mainland China arriving in the United States are excluded from school for 14 days. 

The CDC recently shared that the U.S. should prepare now in the event that the coronavirus spreads. MVWSD has worked with county school and health officials to establish the protocols already in place for schools in the event that a serious infectious disease spreads in our area. We are reviewing our pandemic plan to ensure it meets the needs of a coronavirus response, including actions in the case of prolonged school closure. The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is the lead agency during a public health emergency. Public Health and the Santa Clara County Office of Education would make the decision in the unlikely event that school would need to be cancelled due to sickness. 

It’s important to remember that the health risk to the general public in California from novel coronavirus remains low. Still, our District is going above the recommended basic actions to help protect against the coronavirus:

* If children are sick at school, they will be sent home as deemed appropriate by our staff and nurses. Difficulty breathing, cough and fever are symptoms of the coronavirus and should be considered. 

* We are encouraging and reminding students and staff members about handwashing, which should be done multiple times a day. We also will be providing alcohol-based sanitizing wipes for times when handwashing is not practical.

* We are currently cleaning for flu prevention, with special attention to door handles, drinking fountains and computers. The disinfectant is one we use regularly and is effective against coronavirus. Additionally, after school hours, we will be using industrial-grade misters to disinfect common, high-traffic areas and classrooms regularly.

* We are tracking student absences every morning for trends in numbers and illnesses. Extra cleaning for affected classrooms is scheduled as needed.

We need help from you, too. In order to stop the spread of viruses, please follow these guidelines:

* Please do not send your child to school if he or she may be sick. Keeping your sick child home is important to not spread sickness.  Children must stay home if they have: A temperature of 100 degrees or above (students must be fever-free without fever-reducing medication - such as Tylenol or Motrin - for at least 24 hours before returning to school), vomiting and/or diarrhea, uncontrollable cough, wheezing or shortness of breath, suspected communicable disease or infection. 

* If you, your child, or family recently traveled outside the U.S. and you begin to get sick with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, stay home and call your healthcare provider.

If we all continue to work together and follow these important guidelines, we can help keep our students, staff, and community healthy. Thank you for your support of our students, staff, and community.
February 3, Quarantine Notice and Travel Restrictions
As recommended by Santa Clara County Health Department (summarized from federal guidelines): 
    1.) Any staff or student who has been in the Hubei province within the last 14 days should
not attend school. They should monitor for symptoms and report any symptoms to Public Health. They should not seek medical care without calling ahead first and letting care providers know of their exposure history (mandatory quarantine).
    2.) Any staff or student who has been in China, in a province other than Hubei province, within the last 14 days should also not attend school.

Click here for the quarantine notice from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department
January 31, Coronavirus First Notice
Dear Parents and Staff Members,

Understandably, it is worrisome to hear the news of the novel (new) coronavirus that originated in China. This is an evolving situation and while there are many factors we cannot control, please know we are closely monitoring it and working to make our schools as safe as possible. To read an extensive outline of the coronavirus, please visit the Santa Clara County Public Health website here.

We continue to work closely with the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health and other county, state and national health organizations to monitor the latest about the coronavirus. While the Santa Clara County Public Health Department is the lead agency during a public health emergency in our county, MVWSD is strengthening its own sickness prevention actions. 

Our District is going above the recommended basic actions to help protect against the coronavirus. Here’s what we’re doing:

  * If children are sent to school sick, please note that they can be sent home as deemed appropriate by our staff and nurses. Difficulty breathing, cough and fever are symptoms of the coronavirus and should be considered. 

  * We are encouraging and reminding students and staff members about handwashing, which should be done multiple times a day. We also will be providing alcohol-based sanitizing wipes for times when handwashing is not practical.

  * Our District nurses will be talking to students and staff members on Monday about how to prevent the spread of viruses.
  
  * This weekend, our custodial staff is working to deep clean schools.

  * We are currently cleaning for flu prevention, with special attention to door handles, drinking fountains and computers. The disinfectants used are effective also against coronavirus. Additionally, after school hours, we will be using industrial-grade misters to disinfect common, high-traffic areas and classrooms regularly.

  * We are tracking student absences for trends in numbers and illnesses. Extra cleaning for affected classrooms is scheduled as needed.

We need help from you, too. In order to stop the spread of the flu, which we are currently experiencing, as well as potential new viruses, like coronavirus, please follow these guidelines:

  * Please do not send your child to school if he or she may be sick. Keeping your sick child home is important to not spread sickness.  Children must stay home if they have: A temperature of 100 degrees or above (students must be fever-free without fever-reducing medication - such as Tylenol or Motrin - for at least 24 hours before returning to school), vomiting and/or diarrhea, uncontrollable cough, wheezing or shortness of breath, suspected communicable disease or infection. 

  * If you, your child, or family recently traveled to or from China and you begin to get sick with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, stay home and call your healthcare provider and let them know your travel history and your symptoms. 

If we all continue to work together and follow these important guidelines, we can help keep our students, staff, and community healthy. Please share this information with your family and caregivers. Thank you for your support of our students, staff, and community.

Respectfully,
Dr. Ayindé Rudolph, 
Superintendent



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