July 31, 2020

Dear MPCSD Parents/Guardians,

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you for your continued support and attention as our district navigates through what is certainly one of the most trying and stressful times we have ever experienced. 

We have something very special in MPCSD, something that is the result of years of aspirational vision, positive collaboration, and lots of hard work. Sooner rather than later, I hope, COVID will be in the rearview mirror, but the children of MPCSD will still be here, still deserve an excellent education, and still expect parents, teachers, staff, and the Board to be working together on their behalf. We will get through this trying time, together, and our children will witness how a strong, principled community responds in times of hardship. 

Thank you to all who tuned into the Board meeting last night and shared your heartfelt comments. The Board listens carefully to all of your concerns and takes them to heart when making decisions. After weeks of deliberation and planning, the Board voted last night to begin the year in Distance Learning on August 20. This was not an easy decision, but one they felt was unavoidable due to the county’s “3-day Active Engagement” status and all but inevitable placement on the official watchlist tomorrow. 

While on the watchlist, county schools are not allowed to open for in-person instruction until the county has been off the watchlist for 14 consecutive days. While there is some indication that San Mateo County cases may have peaked and will soon stabilize and decrease, there is no guarantee as to if/when this would occur and thus the Board opted for clarity for the start of school. The Board also committed to begin considering a return to in-person instruction as early as September 8 and has scheduled three Board meetings in the month of August at which plans will be discussed. 

Clearly the decision to open in Distance Learning for All on August 20 was not an easy one and tried to balance many real and often competing concerns: for student and staff safety, for student’s academic and social-emotional well-being, and for the overall health of our community. I believe the Board made the right decision to open in Distance Learning. 

The Reopening Plan Document
It’s with great pride that I share with you MPCSD’s Reopening Plan detailing our 2020-21 plans, the choices you have, our health and safety precautions, accommodations for Special Education, Spanish Immersion, Child Care and more. It reflects weeks of our team’s hard work and dedication and the input of our site level advisory teams. It is essential that your family read the Plan thoroughly prior to making or confirming your decision about how you would like your student(s) to return to school . It is LONG; but, it will answer so many questions that you have asked.

Your Choice
On Monday, August 3 you will receive a one-question survey asking to confirm your choice between the Hybrid Blended Learning model or the Virtual Academy. 

At last night’s meeting, I likened the choice you have to visiting a hypothetical amusement park. Within the park, there are only two rides. You can only ride one and the price of admission is the same. Your first choice is the roller coaster. It’s complete with twists and turns, some of which you won’t see coming; however, it’s the only sure way you’ll experience the “thrill” of live, in-person instruction. The second choice is the merry-go-round. You’ll be on the same horse the whole time. You’ll go up and down and around. It may not be as exciting as the roller coaster, but you’ll know what to expect because you’ll be in the safe routine of daily Distance Learning. 

Every student is different. Every family has different risk tolerances. We trust you to make the best choice for you and your family and are proud to be able to offer two outstanding and robust educational options for next year. 

Next Board Meeting
The Board decided to meet again next week, on Thursday, August 6. To the extent that we have updated information from the state and county, this meeting will include further updates on the health data, a discussion about the state’s waiver process and MPCSD’s potential participation in it, and a discussion about the metrics MPCSD will use to determine when to reopen to in-person learning.

Thank you again for following the rapidly evolving reopening process and for providing your timely input to help us plan for class placements this fall. While there is so much change and unpredictability in the world right now, I can assure you that MPCSD is as far along and comprehensive in its offering as any school district in California. 

I look forward to that view from the rearview mirror, with COVID behind us, and the acknowledgement that our community is stronger and better as a result of having gone through this together. We’re going to be okay; I’m sure of it. 

With great appreciation,
Erik Burmeister, Superintendent | mpcsd.org
Governing Board
Stacey Jones , President
Sherwin Chen, Vice President
David Ackerman
Mark Box
Scott Saywell