How is it August already? I hope you have enjoyed your summer and are looking forward to a fresh start next week. With just a week until school starts, I would like to share some important back-to-school information--including COVID response plans--to help you prepare. Our regular district newsletter will resume next week.
The San Mateo County Office of Education, in alignment with CDPH and CDC, has updated its COVID-19 Safe Schools Framework, which now replaces the Pandemic Recovery Framework. MPCSD has updated its School Safety Plan for 2022-23 in alignment with the county document. Please see this year’s plan as well as other COVID-19 resources at our Covid Dashboard. Some highlights of this year’s plan are:
- Back-to-School Testing: MPCSD asks that all students and staff take a rapid test the night before or the morning of the first day of school. Over the counter rapid tests are widely available. If you would like a free test, please pick one up (one per MPCSD student in your household) at your school campus on Friday, August 12 or Monday, August 15 between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The federal government is also offering a third round of free tests to each household; order here. You do NOT need to email or show us the results. As always, if your student tests positive, DO NOT send them to school, and report the positive result to your school nurse or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NEW! School nurse emails by site:
Encinal students: email@example.com
Laurel students (either campus): firstname.lastname@example.org
Oak Knoll students: email@example.com
Hillview students: firstname.lastname@example.org
ELC/HOCC/TK families use the email for the site at which your child attends
- Vaccination: Students are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but MPCSD highly recommends that all eligible individuals be vaccinated (and boosted when recommended). We are planning a vaccine clinic with Safeway for September 15 at Hillview; stay tuned for more details. Please let us know if your student(s) are vaccinated. Send an email with photo of vaccine confirmation to “email@example.com” with STUDENT LAST NAME, FIRST NAME as the subject line. One separate email per student, please.
Staff are required to provide vaccination status; unvaccinated staff or those who decline to provide proof must test at least weekly.
Volunteers who help on campus and visitors/service providers who will be in proximity with students will be asked to show proof of vaccination when arriving, or take a rapid test on site before volunteering/providing a service. We are NOT using the Safeter vaccine registration system this year.
- Testing: The state no longer provides free weekly pooled testing to school districts and it is cost and staff-prohibitive for us to provide it on our own. Thus, MPCSD will not offer regular screening testing. We will have symptomatic antigen testing available on site. This will be available to students who are symptomatic at school and to staff who have not shown proof of vaccination. Parents who do not opt their student into the testing will be required to pick up their symptomatic students or come to school to test their child and await the results. Symptomatic students who test negative will be assessed by the school site nurse to determine whether or not they can stay at school. To opt in your child(ren) to this year’s symptomatic on-campus testing, please use this link. You will be informed when/if your child is testing on campus.
- Masks: I will not mandate masks at the start of the year (which occurs prior to our first Board meeting). The option for the Board to mandate masks will be discussed at the August 25 Board meeting. This will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the District Office TERC, 181 Encinal Avenue, Atherton. You may attend and address the Board with your thoughts on this topic, or email the Board directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Masks continue to be strongly recommended indoors, but their use will not be monitored. Students and staff who choose to mask will be supported in doing so. School offices will have extra masks for students and visitors upon request. LVNs will have a supply of surgical, KN95, and KF94 masks to provide to staff upon request. As guests on campus, visitors are strongly encouraged to wear masks.
- Case Notification: If a student or other household member tests positive for COVID, please notify your school nurse (see new emails above in the Back-to-School Testing section of this letter) or email@example.com right away. DO NOT send positive-testing students to school. You will receive information on isolation and return-to-school.
Similar to last year, when there is a case in a classroom, the entire classroom will be notified. A weekly summary of campus cases will be emailed via ParentSquare. Quarantine for exposed or potentially exposed students is not recommended, regardless of vaccination status, as long as students are symptom-free.
New School Administrators
I am pleased to announce that the remaining two administrative roles for our schools have been filled on an interim basis, and by MPCSD veterans you probably know. Please join me in welcoming these two talented educators to their new roles for 2022-23:
Leigh Wilson, Interim Administrative Counselor for Laurel’s Upper Campus. Leigh has been with MPCSD at Laurel for the past seven years, teaching K-3, multiage, reading intervention, and serving as a literacy coach and PLC lead. Leigh is excited to pursue another master's degree while embarking on her new career path in administration.
Tom Lyons, Interim Assistant Principal at Hillview. Prior to moving to administration, Tom taught middle school for 31 years (28 years at Hillview), primarily teaching science but also math, special education, physical education, and a variety of electives.
Vaccine (NON-COVID) Reminders
California school children are required to show proof of several vaccines prior to starting school. See this page from the CDPH for the required shots.
All students entering 7th grade must have a Tdap and a second Varicella. If you have not yet submitted your child’s vacation record to include those, please submit it asap to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New students in TK-6th grade, if you received a notice that your child has not yet met the immunization requirements for TK-6th grade, please follow-up with the documentation to email@example.com or fax it to 650-292-2200.
MPCSD’s school buses are operating as normal for the 2022-23 year. And, they are now fully green! Our all-electric buses are here to serve and reduce our impact on the environment. School buses are fee-based and available first-come, first-served: sign up here.
SamTrans, the local public buses, serve schools with dedicated, student-only routes. SamTrans has recently reviewed its ridership and unfortunately closed some low-use routes that affect our schools, but we are working on solutions where we can. See our website’s SamTrans page for more information on SamTrans service to our schools.
The LunchMaster is again our on-campus lunch provider. This school year lunch and breakfast are provided FREE for every student thanks to the State of California’s budget allocation. To access food services, you must create a new account (all previous accounts have been deleted). A credit card is required to activate the account, but will not be charged. Hillview students will order with their own accounts this year.
Click here to register for LunchMaster - each school uses a unique code which you will see at this page.
One Community Campaign - Donate Today
Our wonderful schools wouldn’t be what they are without YOUR support of the annual parent/community fundraising effort, the One Community Campaign, or the OCC. The OCC supports school PTOs and our district-wide foundation, the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation. Please join me and my family in making a meaningful donation now, and you won’t be bothered with follow-up emails later! Thank you for your support of the excellent, learner-centered work we do here at our schools. Donate or make a pledge at supportmpcsd.org.
Please enjoy the remainder of summer with your families, and look for more information in your Sunday school newsletters and our regular district communications. Remember, ParentSquare is the best way to stay in touch; if you haven’t set up your account yet, see your invitation email from ParentSquare (check your Spam folder if you don't see it). If you have questions about your ParentSquare access, please reach out to your school Assistant Principal. We look forward to another successful, invigorating, and joy-filled year. See you on campus August 18!