March 11, 2020

Dear MPCSD Parents, Guardians, and Staff,

Our staff and I continue to appreciate your support and flexibility as we navigate measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our area and especially among our schools. 

In his most recent post , Dr. Scott Morrow, Health Officer of the San Mateo County Health Department, acknowledges that the most effective action to combat or at least slow the spread of COVID-19 in light of community transmission is “to have everything grind to a halt for an extended period of time, as [has been] done in other countries.” However, he further explains that “all actions have consequences” and at this moment given what he knows, “grinding everything to a halt would cause us more harm than good.” 

MPCSD’s goal is to find a middle ground between shutting everything down and continuing our normal program. To preserve the health of our students, staff, and community as well as provide equity of access to our public schools, I have directed our staff to begin implementing a “Social Distancing Plan.” Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 Menlo Park City School District schools will remain open; however, Distance Learning will be available and is recommended to all families who have the ability to keep children home

This Social Distancing Plan will remain in effect until March 26; MPCSD begins its Spring Break March 27. Regardless of which option works best for your family, all students will be considered “present” for the purposes of attendance. We will reevaluate the situation at the end of March to make decisions about what school will look like after Spring Break.

For those students who attend in person, on-campus school hours , busing , and hot lunch services will remain the same. After school programs are optional and will continue unless school is closed, as many families rely on them for child care. We will have plans in place to ensure Special Education services can be provided. Additionally, our preschools--the Early Learning Center and HOCC --will remain open for those parents who require child care during the day and have few options; we will engage in social distancing efforts among the students at the preschools. These and other details will be explained further in the coming days. 

I assure you that this plan is NOT the result of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our schools. Quite the contrary. It is an effort to assist officials in our area to slow the spread of COVID-19 by implementing the recommended social distancing measures and request your partnership in doing so. 

This Social Distancing Plan will allow us to transition to a full school closure, should the County Health Department call for such a closure . Also a benefit, the Plan may serve as a unique and replicable model should schools remain open, but parents desire options for greater social isolation. Let me be clear. If San Mateo Health Department calls a region-wide school closure, MPCSD schools will close completely .

Our staff is ready to make this plan work for all families. Whether your child is learning from home or in our classrooms, our teachers, site leaders, and I will continue to provide timely information about how this transitional plan will unfold. Prior to March 16 (before Social Distancing Plan begins) , if you would like your child to remain home: K-5 teachers will send assignments via email; 6-8 teachers will post assignments on their Learning Management System. 

We move forward with confidence, even though we don’t yet have answers to every question. 
We move forward knowing that many of our fellow public school districts do not yet have the same capacity to implement similar plans. 
We move forward knowing that perfect is the enemy of good and that no solution is perfect. 
We move forward with the best interests of all our students, their families, and the greater community at heart.
We move forward with the intention of being a part of the solution to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your patience, understanding, and flexibility. Please be on the lookout for more and continued information over the next couple of days and please be patient with us as we figure this out .  

Most sincerely,
Erik Burmeister, Superintendent |
Governing Board
Stacey Jones , President
Sherwin Chen, Vice President
David Ackerman
Mark Box
Scott Saywell