Alto received notification on Tuesday afternoon that all public and private schools in San Mateo County
are to remain physically closed for the rest of this school year
. In agreement with the surrounding public health officers, San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has made it clear that we are in "an urgent public health crisis and that taking this step will help to protect everyone's health and safety. This includes the importance of continued social distancing and other measures." Alto will, of course, follow this directive to keep our campus physically closed while continuing to provide distance learning for the remainder of the year. While this is not the news we were hoping to hear, a couple of bright spots include the fact that the curve for new cases in California consistently flat and, according to Dr. Morrow, "We will .... adjust our orders and guidance once the data reflects that we've significantly stemmed the spread of COVID-19." So there is a glimmer of hope that the order could be rescinded.
Through our frequent communications, I hope it is clear that the Alto faculty and staff are committed to distance learning excellence and its continued development and growth. While we are not there yet, we are constantly monitoring and adjusting to improve the Alto distance learning experience. Your feedback via the weekly meetings and your direct communication with teachers and staff is vital to support these efforts.
In the days ahead, discussions will be taking place to make sure we accurately assess each student's academic progress in distance learning, making sure all students are on track to successfully transition to the new school year. We will also continue to maintain strong community connections and plan culminating activities to end the school year in a most positive and celebratory fashion. While we do not have all the answers at this moment, I assure you that we are constantly discussing these topics and more so we can offer a thoughtful and student-centered approach to learning for the remainder of this school year.
I certainly join the faculty, staff, students, and you in being very disappointed and saddened by the fact that it appears we will not be able to physically learn and play together for the remainder of this school year. At the same time, we all accept the need to do everything we can for the safety and health of our families and community members during this pandemic. Thank you for your ongoing understanding and commitment to Alto.
With the spring break approaching, it is important to take time away from distance learning and embrace a much needed pause, physically and emotionally. I hope you will find time to reflect and, in that reflection, be mindful of how fortunate we are to be members of such a caring and giving community.