With the arrival of 2021, all of us in the Brisbane School District are anxious to resume what we fondly refer to as “normal” education. I am not sure what the word normal means anymore as I believe that we will see many changes in our community at large once we squash out the coronavirus. Many of the skills that our educators, students and parents have learned during this time may translate well into our pedagogy moving forward. Our knowledge and use of technology have increased drastically these past 10 months and my hope is that we take the best of what we have learned and apply it once we return to full time in-person instruction.
Please visit Blueprint for a Safer Economy [http://bit.ly/cabluepse] and compare our number in San Mateo County to other regions by clicking on the interactive map. You will find that we are doing much better than other heavily populated counties in the State even though San Mateo County numbers are still increasing; mostly due to the holiday season that we just experienced. Please continue to wear a mask, avoid gatherings and maintain 6ft distance from others outside of your household. Our Region is still in a Stay-at-Home Order because of the lack of ICU beds in the hospitals and the Governor has issued this order to attempt to slow the spread of the virus so that our hospitals do not get overwhelmed.
When can teachers and students begin to return to school? Current guidelines from the State are clear that schools may begin their return to in-person instruction after the County is in the Red Tier for 5 days. BSD’s current plan is to return once the County is in the Orange Tier; this will be revisited by the School Board on January 27th (note new meeting date). CDPH Return to School Guidelines [http://bit.ly/CDPHreturn].
You can find the BSD Return Protocols Here [http://bit.ly/BSDreturn]. You will find the complete protocols for a safe return to in-person instruction as well as sample schedules for all three schools once a return is deemed safe for staff and students. District personnel have worked very hard to compose these schedules and guidelines so that all of our students and staff are well protected.
Several parents have asked what the District’s plan is for next school year. At this point with the constant changing landscape of the coronavirus, it is too early to know what next school will look like. My hope is that we will be through the other side of this pandemic and school will return to “normal”. I believe that we will have extra health security as part of our educational system for years to come. Registration for new students will begin on March 1, 2021. We will be introducing a new online registration platform and will share it out to the community as soon as it is ready.
The Brisbane School District continues to administer weekly COVID tests to all employees who are working on campus and monthly to those employees working remotely. Early detection is a key factor to reducing the spread of the virus. Three school districts in our County are piloting a COVID Antigen Test that can return results within 15 minutes. This type of testing will greatly increase our ability to have a safe return.
In San Mateo County, we are just finishing up administering a COVID vaccine to our health care workers in Phase 1A and will shortly begin educators in Phase 1B. Unfortunately, there are not enough vaccines available for all of the educators in the County and a priority list is being created. Priorities will be established based on those already working in-person, amount of community spread and amount of people an employee comes into contact with on a daily basis. More information from the California Department of Public Health regarding the vaccine distribution to the public can be found HERE [http://bit.ly/cvacpres].
Community members with a medical background such as a retired nurse or paramedic can sign up to help in case of a disaster; in this case, help distribute vaccinations. Please visit https://healthcarevolunteers.ca.gov/ to get information or sign up for this service.
I am very impressed with our educators as they have gone through a complete transformation on how to educate children during a pandemic and I am very impressed with the resilience of our students who have had to learn a new way to be educated. Most of all, I am in awe of the families in our community. My children are adults now and I often try to imagine what life would have been like for my family if we experienced a pandemic while our children were still in school. It truly is amazing how families have responded to being thrust into being such an integral part of our education system. I applaud you and want to thank you for your incredible hard work.