MPCSD's COVID-19 FAQ (Revised 3/25/2020)
ATTENTION: Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, MPCSD schools will be closed to the public at least through April 7 pursuant to region-wide Shelter in Place. The District Office is open Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. for essential services. Read the Order of San Mateo County Health Here.
This MPCSD COVID-19 FAQ document will remain updated and available until the COVID-19 outbreak has ended. Check this site regularly for the most up-to-date information from MPCSD staff.
San Mateo County Alert System: The new number for the San Mateo County Covid-19 Public Call Center is 211. This line is open 24/7 in multiple languages. You can also text "coronavirus" to 211211 for information and updates.
What is the most recent email communication from Superintendent Burmeister regarding the COVID-19? (Revised 3/25/2020)
All San Mateo County school districts are coordinating messaging; however, each district has its own unique communication plan and style. In MPCSD, we will send periodic emails when necessary and regularly update this MPCSD COVID-19 FAQ page for up to the minute changes and direction. We will attempt to manage fear by providing emails only when necessary as to support our community in remaining calm, accessing correct information, and focusing on controlling what we can control.
Are MPCSD schools closed and for how long? (Revised 3/25/2020)
As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, MPCSD schools are closued to the public pursuant to San Mateo County Health's Order to Shelter in Place. The District Office is open Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. for essential services. Learning at MPCSD continues with our Distance Learning Plan that allows students to stay on track with their learning and return to school without too much disruption in their learning trajectories. This plan remains in effect through at least May 1, as announced on March 25. We will communicate our plans to families as we learn more.
What events, if any, will or has MPCSD canceled in light of the COVID-19 outbreak? (Revised 3/25/2020)
MPCSD schools will be closed effective Monday, March 17, 2020 until at least May 1, 2020. The following events are cancelled:
- All April field trips.
- All April musical shows. School sites will make decisions about how and when to reschedule their shows should school re-open in May.
- Speaker Series event "Are You Using Technology or is Technology Using You?" scheduled for April 15.
- "Sup & Sandwich" Town Hall event with Superintendent Burmeister, scheduled for April 17.
- The MPAEF Schoolhouse Rocks 5k Run, scheduled for May 17.
How is Special Education being provided during school closure? (Added 3/25/2020)
MPCSD is designing individual distance learning plans for each of our special education students. The district continues to receive guidance from county and state leaders about the provision of special education services. The most recent information released on March 21, 2020 from the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, states: It is important to emphasize that federal disability law allows for flexibility in determining how to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities. The determination of how Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is to be provided may need to be different in this time of unprecedented national emergency. Please read more from San Mateo County Office of Education here.
What can I do to help out the MPCSD and broader community during this time? (Added 3/25/2020)
Care and compassion for our neighbors abounds right now. MPCSD has a small but mighty team of staff delivering school lunches and additional groceries to our most vulnerable families. Here are some addtional local acengies that welcome your support now:
- San Mateo County has created the San Mateo County Strong Fund to respond to the urgent needs of families, small businesses, and non-profits who are struggling with the economic consequences of the coronavirus response.
- Ravenswood Emergency Fund through the Ravenswood Education Foundation is offering extra support to Ravenswood School District families during this time.
- Second Harvest Food Bank
- Pets In Need has established a temporary emergency assistance program for local pet owners financially hurt by the coronavirus pandemic
- San Mateo County is accepting volunteers for a variety of jobs. Fill out this form if you are interested.
- All hospitals are accepting donations for medical supplies, including face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, nitrile gloves (latex free). You may donate directly:
- Blood donations urgently needed. For information click here.
What should I do if I or my child test positive for COVID-19, suspect I or my child might have it, or suspect I or my child have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19? (Revised 3/16/2020)
MPCSD is closing schools to students as of March 16 to help our community slow the spread of COVID-19. However, it is still important for us to know if anyone in our community contracts COVID-19. MPCSD is receiving clear guidance from both the San Mateo County Health Department and the California Department of Public Health and is asking YOU to assist is following these communication guidelines:
Confirmed COVID-19 Diagnosis
If an MPCSD student, staff, or parent tests positive for COVID-19, the patient or patient’s family is asked to contact the Superintendent’s Office immediately. We expect all staff and parents to notify the school district at the first sign of a positive diagnosis for COVID-19. It is likely that the San Mateo Health Department will also notify the School District; however, please don’t rely on them to do so.
Primary Contact with Person COVID-19 Positive
If an MPCSD student, staff, or parent has confirmed contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, the person associated with MPCSD must immediately notify their site supervisor who will notify the Superintendent’s Office.
Secondary and Tertiary Contact with Person COVID-19 Positive
At this stage in the virus’s spread, more and more individuals are likely to have secondary and tertiary contact with someone suspected of being COVID-19 positive. This is not unusual in a public health emergency of this kind. If an MPCSD student, staff, or parent believes or knows that he/she has had secondary or tertiary contact with someone suspected of carrying the COVID-19 virus, that individual (or their parent) is asked to contact the school site supervisor immediately. When schools re-open, the Site Supervisor or a representative from the Superintendent’s Office will engage the potential contact in a question protocol based on recommendations provided the San Mateo County Health Department prior to being allowed to return to school/work.
For more guidance on possible exposure, please see the CDC's COVID-19 information site.
What is “coronavirus” and what is COVID-19; how are they different? (Revised 3/7/2020)
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China." The World Health Organization has additional information about the disease and the virus. Coronavirus is an umbrella term. There are many strains of coronavirus and the diseases they cause. The current situation relates specifically to COVID-19. From here forward, this document will refer to COVID-19.
How is the District managing the decision making and communication regarding COVID-19? (Added 3/4/2020)
Superintendent Burmeister has assembled a COVID-19 Response Team that includes leads from the following different parts of the organization. The Response Team meets daily under the direction of Superintendent Burmeister. The team is privy to the latest information from local and state officials.
- School Board
- Site Administration
- Health and Nursing
- Custodial & Transportation Services
- Curriculum & Instruction
- Student Services
- Human Resources
What are the dangers to children and how might they be different than for adults? (Added 2/29/2020)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided these answers as it relates to children and COVID-19.
What PRECAUTIONS can I take to help avoid contracting COVID-19 or exposing my children to it? (Added 2/29/2020)
The SMC Health Department and other health officials are clear that the same precautions you would use for the seasonal flu, you should employ to guard against COVID-19. As recommended by San Mateo County Health:
- Cover your cough and sneeze.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid shaking hands and touching your face with unwashed hands.
- If you are not feeling well or are experiencing cold, flu, or other symptoms, contact your primary care provider and stay home from school or work.
- Like washing your hands, wearing a surgical mask may help a bit but you need to know that surgical masks don’t offer much protection when they are worn by people who are well. They are most helpful when worn by those who are already sick, so that they are less likely to transmit the disease to others. Surgical masks are already in short supply and should be prioritized for use in health care settings.
- You should use a barrier, such as a paper towel or tissue, to touch commonly touched surfaces, such as bathroom door handles or elevator buttons.
What can I do to PREPARE my family and me for COVID-19’s future spread? (Added 2/29/2020)
There is no way of knowing how COVID-19 will spread, who has it, and if or how someone will get it. The virus situation changes by the hour. As of February 28, 2020 confirmed cases are limited, but growing. The first confirmed cases of “community transmission” have been reported in the area, thus resulting in changes to how the virus’s spread will be approached.
The most important thing that you can do besides regular flu precautions is to PREPARE for infection and/or the impacts of infection. You can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for suggestions on preparing your home and life; Dr. Scott Morrow of SMC Health Department recommends asking yourself these questions:
- How will I take care of myself if I become sick?
- How will I take care of my family if they become sick?
- If school needs to be canceled for some reason, what child care would I need to arrange?
- What supplies might I need to stock up on that are readily available in case the supply chain is interrupted for some reason?
Some other questions you might ask yourself are:
- Do I have an ample supply of my daily medications, critical meds, and any medications that would be necessary to treat symptoms of the flu? (Example: adult and children’s acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and/or cough medicine.)
- Is my earthquake kit up to date and ready to go in as much as it has general emergency supplies that might be of help? (Of course, having supplies beyond the typical earthquake kit is a good idea. What you decide to have on hand is based on your individual and family situation.)
Knowing answers to these questions prior to an elevated situation will go a long way to ensuring your comfort and safety in a myriad of scenarios. A community resource that may be helpful is: Pandemic Preparedness COVID-19 Update: Citizen’s Guide.
What is one of the biggest dangers in a potential or confirmed “pandemic” situation and how can I manage this danger? (Added 2/29/2020)
Humans often manage communication using “mirror neurons.” Mirror neurons observe the behavior and emotion of others (or the news media) and our brains react by mirroring the emotion. Understanding this, it is important to manage our mirror neurons in times of heightened fear to protect ourselves from becoming susceptible to inaccurate or emotionally-charged information. There is a lot of fear due to the unknown. We can de-escalate our mirror neurons by staying calm, remaining informed, and controlling what we have control over (such as precaution and preparation). The more we can manage our mirror neurons, the more logically we can respond.
Remember that children’s “mirror neurons” are also in full effect. If we approach information in a calm, informed, age appropriate manner, we are most likely to help our children manage any potential fear or confusion.
How should I talk to my child about COVID-19? (Revised 3/5/2020)
There is no "right way" to talk to your child about hard subjects. Every child and every family is different. MPCSD school counselors (funded thanks to your generous donations to the One Community Campaign) and your amazing classroom teachers are available daily to receive your emails of concern should your child be experiencing acute anxiety around COVID-19. Please feel free to reach out. Here are some resources you may find helpful as you talk to your child:
- This article from the New York Times Parent Magazine is a helpful frame for the conversation
- This set of suggestions from the Child Mind Institute
- NPR recently published this potentially helpful cartoon flip book
- The National Association of School Psychologists offers this Parent Resource Guide
- Talking to Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus from the New York Times
How is MPCSD handling family travel and/or new students during the COVID-19 threat? (Revised 3/4/2020)
Schools are closed through at least April 7. When schools re-open, schools cannot limit or control the travel or registration of any family; travel restrictions are the responsibility of the federal government. However, MPCSD will take the proper and legal precautions to ensure the health and safety of its students and staff. MPCSD will refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel guidelines, which categorize countries by level of COVID-19 transmission. Travel from any country identified by the CDC as "Level 3" (widespread community transmission, avoid non-essential travel) will result in greater screening practices prior to attending school. These practices may include:
- A 14-day self quarantine, and
- A note from the primary care physician attesting the good health of the student or staff member.
MPCSD remains a welcoming place respectful of its role as a public institution. No student, staff, or family should experience prejudice, judgment, or innuendo due to their travel history, especially knowing that MPCSD is fulfilling its obligation to ensure the health and well being of all students, staff, and families.
What local, state, or national communication has the district received and provided to parents through this COVID-19 FAQ? (Revised 3/8/2020)
- Saturday, March 7, 2020 communication for superintendents from California Depts of Education and Public Health re: guidance for school closure.
- Thursday, February 27, 2020 communication for parents from Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County Health Officer.
What additional resources might parents be interested in for information? (Revised 3/7/2020)
- The San Mateo County COVID-19 Public Call Center is now live at the number 211. Call takers can answer non-medical questions about COVID-19 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday - Friday.
- San Mateo County Office of Education Media Alert re: County State of Emergency
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- San Mateo County Health Department
- San Mateo County Office of Education
- California Department of Public Health
Who should I contact at the District if I have questions or information? (Revised 3/5/2020)
Please know that we have access to the most updated information and news. While we appreciate the articles and resources you send, we feel confident we are getting the information we need.
If you have questions or information about your own child’s health, please contact your school’s office.
If you have questions or information about this FAQ or about MPCSD’s COVID-19 response in general, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This email is monitored daily, however please understand that we may not respond to your message individually.
How often should I check MPCSD’s COVID-19 FAQ? (Added 2/29/2020)
As often as you feel necessary. The information will be maintained daily and the most current information will be included in the document. If important information is shared that parents need to know, we will email you to alert you to additions or changes to the COVID-19 FAQ. MPCSD will provide the most up-to-date links from local, state, and national officials in this FAQ.