Schools campuses set to remain closed for rest of school year

Oak Closure
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A sign at Oak Avenue School announces the campus is closed. The plan is now for schools to remain physically closed through the end of the school year, although remote instruction will continue.

Public school students won’t return to the classroom this school year, and educators are working to transition the remainder of the year to remote instruction, Santa Clara County officials confirmed Wednesday (April 1).

The announcement comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that schools are not expected to be able to reopen this school year.

“It seems, I think, self-evident that we should not prepare to bring our children back into the school setting,” Newsom said during a press conference Wednesday.

Schools in Santa Clara County have been closed since mid-March amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, Thurmond emphasized that just because schools are physically closed, that does not mean learning is going to stop. He said districts should proceed as if only distance learning can be used the remainder of the school year.

“While right now our campuses are closed to our kids, school is not out for the year,” Thurmond said. “In fact, we are asking everyone to accelerate their efforts to make sure our students get a great education.”

Local districts sent out emails to families Thursday, announcing the closure was being extended and stressing that the school year is not over.

Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Superintendent Nellie Meyer said in an interview that the district is continuing to roll out distance learning and is in discussions about whether to switch grading to a credit, no-credit system.

“We’re disappointed that we’re not able to be on campus with our students. Our teachers have shared that they miss seeing them and we miss seeing them,” Meyer said, adding that the district is looking to find ways to maintain school community, even when people are physically separate.

The Los Altos School District is prepared to continue online learning for the remainder of the school year, Superintendent Jeff Baier said. In the coming weeks, Baier said the district will tackle issues including how grading will work and the fate of events such as eighth-grade graduation ceremonies.

“We do recognize that there are some significant rites of passages and celebrations that occur as a part of school, especially as a part of kids finishing nine years in our district,” Baier said.

Correction: This story was updated to reflect the correct date of the county's announcement and the press conference with state officials.

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