Happy Holidays & Some Reminders

Happy Holidays & Some Reminders
Posted on 12/19/2020

Dear PVSD Families and Staff, 

As this year comes to a close and as I reflect on the amazing work we have done as a community, I am in awe of the collective grace, passion, and commitment that has defined our district over the past year. This year has challenged us in many ways, but has also illuminated the power of the PVSD community.  Many moments throughout the year brought me gratitude and inspiration and I thank all of you for that.  I am proud to be a part of the Portola Valley School District!  

Here are some brief updates and reminders as we head into the holiday season:


Stay @ Home Orders

The state-issued Stay at Home Orders for the entire Bay Area Region took effect Thursday at 11:59 p.m. as the region’s overall ICU bed capacity has now dipped below the 15% threshold. At this time these new orders do not affect schools that are already open to in-person learning, which includes PVSD. For more specific information on the orders and schools please read this press release from the San Mateo County Office of Education. 

PVSD’s COVID case rate has remained very low and the Board has many times affirmed its commitment to keeping schools open as long as we can do so safely. At the December 17 meeting, the Board of Trustees and Administration discussed COVID data and maintained our commitment to follow SMC Health as it is our primary health authority. The Board’s only automatic trigger to close a school or the district and pivot to Distance Learning is 5% positivity at our schools, the trigger outlined in the county’s Pandemic Recovery Framework. Students will also temporarily pivot to Distance Learning if AQI is 150 or higher and if staffing capacity precludes our ability to remain open for in-person instruction.

Winter Break Travel and Safety

We must continue to adhere to health guidelines with fidelity over Winter Break. I implore all of us to follow San Mateo County’s travel guidelines: if you leave the Bay Area (even if you engage in “safe” travel), please quarantine for 14 days upon your return, prior to sending your children back to school. I know I am asking a lot, but it is our only protection against COVID spread. If you have questions about what is and isn’t permitted under the Regional Stay at Home orders, please see the state’s COVID dashboard here (scroll down to the Regional Stay at Home Order section). Remember, the best way to show your school staff how appreciative you are for the sacrifices they have made is to not put them in harm's way upon your return from break

Quarantine Guidelines

You may be aware that the CDC changed its quarantine recommendations recently. Even as surrounding counties have adopted the CDC’s recommendations, San Mateo County Health Department has intentionally kept with the full 14-day quarantine period. If and until SMC changes its guidelines, PVSD will follow SMC Health as it is our primary health authority.

January Schedule

Just a reminder that all students will participate in Distance Learning the week of January 4 (January 4 - 8). Grades TK - 6 will resume in-person instruction the week of January 11, or PVVA for those students who participate in the Virtual Academy.  

District Office Winter Break Hours

The District Office will be closed to the public on December 24, 25, 30, 31 and January 1. It will reopen Monday, January 4, at 8:00 a.m. If anyone in your household receives a positive COVID diagnosis during Winter Break, you still are required to notify the District. Please email rzarea@pvsd.net with your name and contact information and the name of the student or staff member who has tested positive. A District contact tracer will contact you within 24 hours of your email. The information you share in the email will be kept confidential. 

Teacher and Staff Vaccines- how you can help!

Please help us advocate for the health and safety needs of your children's teachers and staff by emailing Assemblymember Marc Berman and CA State Senator Josh Becker requesting that CA prioritize ALL school staff (teachers, preschool staff, school nurses, office staff, custodians, yard duty, bus drivers, administration, etc.) for the vaccine AND ensure the process for accessing the vaccine is CLEAR. Let them know how grateful you are to have schools open and that the CA government needs to prioritize these heroes when distributing the vaccine. The decisions are happening NOW, so time is of the essence.

May your holidays be bright and filled with moments of peace, connections with family and friends, the warmth of happy memories, and glimpses of the joy and kindness that we will all experience in the new year!

Warm regards,