March 5, 2020

Dear MPCSD Parent,

Thank you for your attention to this additional COVID-19 communication. MPCSD schools will be open tomorrow, Friday, March 6, 2020. Please continue reading for an important update.

It is clear that the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly in our area. Today it was announced that a large and well known daycare/preschool center in San Jose that serves a number of the area’s children, including two of MPCSD’s staff members, closed for deep cleaning due to one of the preschool staff member’s diagnosis of COVID-19. Additionally, we know of at least one Bay Area business that has sent employees home due a COVID-19 diagnosis; this company employs at least one Menlo Park City School District parent. 

Currently MPCSD has no known direct exposures. However, the three known secondary or tertiary (two or three people removed) exposures make it clear that COVID-19 spread continues in our county. Tonight, Dr. Scott Morrow, MD, MPH, Public Health Officer of the San Mateo Health Department, shared this updated message to our county, which provides the honest recommendation to prepare that COVID-19 will remain with us for the foreseeable future. The threat will grow, the impacts will be uncomfortable at best, and important measures must be taken to limit the spread.

Dr. Morrow further explains that school closures are not something for which he is currently advocating; however, school closures may be needed in the future to prevent further spread of the virus. I shared our knowledge of MPCSD’s three indirect exposures and was assured by both Dr. Nancy Magee, SMC Superintendent of Schools, and Dr. Scott Morrow, that it was too soon to close our schools. That said, both officials made clear that widespread school closures may be just around the corner and to prepare for that possibility. 

All three individuals who have notified us of their potential indirect exposure to COVID-19 have been asked to stay home tomorrow out of an abundance of caution until we can determine whether further quarantine or medical testing is necessary. None of the individuals to which I am referring is experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms. I have directed our Maintenance Department to bring in additional staff this evening to support the cleaning and disinfecting of all learning and common areas. We are also preparing a team of cleaning professionals to continue deep cleaning steps throughout the weekend at all MPCSD sites. 

While schools will remain open, Dr. Morrow does recommend the cancellation of “ all non-essential gatherings .” As such, the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation in consultation with the school district has made the decision to cancel Saturday night’s fundraising auction . More information will be emailed from MPAEF to all ticket holders tomorrow, March 6, 2020.  

I am confident in our decision to keep our schools open on Friday. I feel the benefits of remaining open outweigh the relatively low risk of contagion at this time based on the information we are receiving. If you choose to keep your child home on Friday, please use the School Messenger App or a phone call to report the absence. We hope to welcome your child back to school on Monday. 

We will continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving situation in our area. I’m grateful for the support of the members of our MPCSD COVID-19 Response Team who continue to be by my side to make the necessary decisions in real time that keep our children safe. Please continue to refer to MPCSD’s COVID-19 FAQ for the latest information. 

In partnership with you, 
Erik Burmeister
Erik Burmeister, Superintendent |
Governing Board
Stacey Jones , President
Sherwin Chen, Vice President
David Ackerman
Mark Box
Scott Saywell