Communication from Superintendent Zarea

Superintendent Email to PVSD Staff and Community

July 30, 2020

Dear PVSD Staff and Community,

I hope this email finds you healthy and enjoying summer with your loved ones.

The purpose of this email is to apprise you of the current status of the San Mateo County (SMC) watchlist and to provide our district’s FAQ’s related to our Returning to Learning Plans. On a related note, I have also included information about a letter from the Portola Valley Teachers’ Association (PVTA) to the PVSD Board of Trustees..

Here is the status of the SMC Watchlist: 

  • We were informed on Tuesday evening that San Mateo County is in the 3-day “Active Engagement” phase that precedes placement on the State’s monitoring list as a result of our case rate/100K population, It exceeds the State benchmark of 100/per 100K. Our rate on Wed was 110.4 (was 104.6 on Tuesday).

  • Should our case rate remain above 100 for three consecutive days, the activity restrictions announced by the Governor on July 13 will apply to San Mateo County.  In addition to closing indoor operations for certain sectors, this means we must start the school year in full distance learning until San Mateo County is off the watch/monitoring list for 14 days, we have a testing structure in place to assess staff according to CDPH requirements, or we apply and are granted a waiver to allow for K-5 in person instruction (currently, no Middle or High School waivers are available). Note that information about the waiver is not yet available.

  • The State has relayed that the above restrictions would go into effect at 12:01 on Saturday, August 1.

Furthermore, the Communications Subcommittee of our Pandemic Response Working Group has developed these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) in response community questions. Going forward, these FAQ’s will be located on the PVSD website and will be updated as information is updated. 

Additionally, the PVSD Board of Trustees received this letter from the PV Teachers' Association (PVTA) on July 25, 2020. Signed by the majority of PVSD teachers, the letter asks “that the board do what is in the best interests of the staff and students -- follow the District administration’s recommendation and begin the year with a distance learning model.” I regard the letter as support of my recommendation to the PVSD Board of Trustees (7.24.20) to begin the school year in Distance Learning, and affirmation that the teachers have every intention of returning to on-campus instruction when the health indicators permit. 

Please join our upcoming virtual Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees on Thursday August 6 @ 9 - 11:00 am. The board will hear comprehensive information about our Returning to Learning Plan and plan for Distance Learning. Information about how to join the meeting or provide comments/questions will be sent prior to the meeting.

The Board will approve the comprehensive Returning to Learning Plan at their regularly scheduled virtual board meeting on August 13 at 6 pm. 

As a reminder, the first day of school for students will be Friday, August 21, 2020. Stay tuned for information from your school principal about the first day schedule and plan for the beginning of the school year.

Like many of our PVSD community, I am disappointed that we will not be able to resume in-person learning at the beginning of the school year. I am, however, confident that our educators will provide a robust, meaningful, and supportive virtual environment for each and every student until we are able to safely see each other in person again. 

Warm Regards, 

Roberta Zarea