BREAKING: PAUSD schools to remain closed through end of school year

Ethan Chen and Kaahini Jain

All school campuses in the Palo Alto Unified School District will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, according to a release today from the Office of the Superintendent.

Additionally, all schools in Santa Clara County, including Palo Alto High School, will move to distance learning options for the remainder of the school year, according to a letter jointly released today by 33 Santa Clara County superintendents.

The letter does not concretely state that all schools in Santa Clara County will be closed; however, Superintendent Don Austin has announced that school campuses in PAUSD will remain closed.

“With the authority granted to me by our Board of Education through an emergency resolution, I am closing PAUSD school buildings for classroom instruction for the remainder of the 2020 school year,” Austin stated in an email to PAUSD staff and families.

Although the Palo Alto High School campus will remain closed, instruction will continue remotely, according to Austin.

“While our classrooms are closed, teaching and learning continues,” Austin stated in the email. 

According to the letter, this will be accomplished through various distance learning options recommended by the California Department of Education. The state’s full recommendations can be found here.

At Paly, many teachers have been using Zoom and Schoology to communicate with students and continue classwork.

“Zoom is probably the best solution right now,” junior Drew Kim said. “It obviously isn’t as good as being in the classroom, but right now, there’s nothing better.”

Food distribution will also continue for those who need it, according to Austin.

“Distribution of meals will also continue during the classroom closures,” Austin stated. “Please continue to work hard and prepare for a triumphant return in the future.”

According to the letter, summer school options, including summer courses such as Living Skills and Economics, will be discussed “at a later date.”

“In the coming weeks, each of our districts will provide families with information regarding how grades, graduation, transcripts, scholarships, summer school, and continued distance learning instruction will be handled,” the letter states. 

The announcement comes a day after State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a letter that it was unlikely schools would reopen for the 2019-2020 school year.