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More local schools announce closures due to coronavirus

Menlo College and Menlo School are joining the growing list of local schools to close their campuses and move classes to online instruction as more cases of the novel coronavirus crop up in the Bay Area. This follows the World Health Organization (WHO)'s declaration on Wednesday, March 11, that the outbreak of the respiratory illness, known as COVID-19, is a pandemic.

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, all classes will move to online instruction, and classes will be canceled on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17, officials at Menlo College in Atherton told students in a Wednesday email. The school is also canceling, or modifying, large events. Scheduled games will continue as planned, but without spectators with the exception of Menlo College students in-residence, and staff and faculty.

"The consensus of public health experts is that the coronavirus will continue to be spread in communities across the nation, a reality that has driven many other colleges and universities to move towards online only instruction as well, currently affecting more than 500,000 students in this country alone," said Angela Schmiede, chair of the school's pandemic planning team. "Just here in the Bay Area, at least twelve other colleges and universities have also suspended in-person classes at this time."

Menlo School in Atherton also announced in the early morning hours on Thursday, March 12, that it is closing its campus effective immediately. The closure of the school, which serves students in grades six through 12, will run at least through the end of spring break on April 13.

At Menlo College, students are on spring break this week. Some are staying in the dorms on campus, while others returned home for the break. School officials have asked students not on campus to not return after spring break, while they say that students still living on campus who are unable to live elsewhere until classes resume will be allowed to stay.

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Alyssa Gomez, a sophomore studying human resources at Menlo College, is staying with her family in Southern California and said the shutdown is a "lot to handle all at once." She worries about her car, which she left in the Bay Area, and she's concerned she'll lose her dog-walking clients who may think she's unreliable since she has to cancel upcoming walks.

"Taking precautions like that is important, but I think they (administrators) should have done it sooner," she said, noting she had to cancel her flight back to the Bay Area last minute. "I have never had an online class before and the teachers don't necessarily know how to use the (online) program. I'm nervous about it."

Other school closures:

• Sacred Heart Schools: The private Atherton school announced Wednesday that beginning on Monday, the school will move to institute online instruction and tentatively plans to reopen on April 14.

• Woodside Priory, St. Raymond and Nativity schools: Three local Archdiocese of San Francisco schools announced this week they would close for two weeks due to the virus threat. The announcement followed the confirmation that a student at one of the archdiocese's San Francisco schools tested positive for COVID-19.

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There are more than 125,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide as of Thursday morning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 17 cases of the virus in the county as of Thursday morning, according to the San Mateo County health department's website. There have been 48 cases of the virus confirmed in nearby Santa Clara County as of Thursday morning, according to the county's health department website.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by the Almanac, Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Online here.

Follow AlmanacNews.com and The Almanac on Twitter @almanacnews, Facebook and on Instagram @almanacnews for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

More local schools announce closures due to coronavirus

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 11:53 am

Menlo College and Menlo School are joining the growing list of local schools to close their campuses and move classes to online instruction as more cases of the novel coronavirus crop up in the Bay Area. This follows the World Health Organization (WHO)'s declaration on Wednesday, March 11, that the outbreak of the respiratory illness, known as COVID-19, is a pandemic.

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, all classes will move to online instruction, and classes will be canceled on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17, officials at Menlo College in Atherton told students in a Wednesday email. The school is also canceling, or modifying, large events. Scheduled games will continue as planned, but without spectators with the exception of Menlo College students in-residence, and staff and faculty.

"The consensus of public health experts is that the coronavirus will continue to be spread in communities across the nation, a reality that has driven many other colleges and universities to move towards online only instruction as well, currently affecting more than 500,000 students in this country alone," said Angela Schmiede, chair of the school's pandemic planning team. "Just here in the Bay Area, at least twelve other colleges and universities have also suspended in-person classes at this time."

Menlo School in Atherton also announced in the early morning hours on Thursday, March 12, that it is closing its campus effective immediately. The closure of the school, which serves students in grades six through 12, will run at least through the end of spring break on April 13.

At Menlo College, students are on spring break this week. Some are staying in the dorms on campus, while others returned home for the break. School officials have asked students not on campus to not return after spring break, while they say that students still living on campus who are unable to live elsewhere until classes resume will be allowed to stay.

Alyssa Gomez, a sophomore studying human resources at Menlo College, is staying with her family in Southern California and said the shutdown is a "lot to handle all at once." She worries about her car, which she left in the Bay Area, and she's concerned she'll lose her dog-walking clients who may think she's unreliable since she has to cancel upcoming walks.

"Taking precautions like that is important, but I think they (administrators) should have done it sooner," she said, noting she had to cancel her flight back to the Bay Area last minute. "I have never had an online class before and the teachers don't necessarily know how to use the (online) program. I'm nervous about it."

Other school closures:

• Sacred Heart Schools: The private Atherton school announced Wednesday that beginning on Monday, the school will move to institute online instruction and tentatively plans to reopen on April 14.

• Woodside Priory, St. Raymond and Nativity schools: Three local Archdiocese of San Francisco schools announced this week they would close for two weeks due to the virus threat. The announcement followed the confirmation that a student at one of the archdiocese's San Francisco schools tested positive for COVID-19.

There are more than 125,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide as of Thursday morning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 17 cases of the virus in the county as of Thursday morning, according to the San Mateo County health department's website. There have been 48 cases of the virus confirmed in nearby Santa Clara County as of Thursday morning, according to the county's health department website.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by the Almanac, Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Online here.

Comments

Lauren John
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 12, 2020 at 1:44 pm
Lauren John, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 12, 2020 at 1:44 pm
11 people like this

Menlo College student Alyssa Gomez, (quoted in the article about our college's shift to online education starting next week), expresses disappointment in Menlo College and implies that the college is unprepared for the challenge. Alyssa also states that she is studying and perhaps preparing for a career in human resources. One day, she may be called upon to make tough decisions impacting hundreds of people. Business colleges like ours often instruct using case studies involving many viewpoints--and right now all of us are stakeholders in a potentially life threatening case study.
So here's my viewpoint as an adjunct faculty member, writing on what was originally slated to be part of my Spring Break vacation week. I want to reassure Jessica and indeed, ALL OF OUR STUDENTS, that we are working overtime to be sure that we are ready to provide the best education possible in a constantly shifting environment. The college's IT department has put in countless hours to provide students and faculty with the software that we need. As I write this, faculty are also receiving training and resources to get smart quick. This morning, the faculty started participating in an online forum to share best online teaching practices and we are all exchanging phone calls and emails and Powerpoints and videos to support each other. As a teacher in the college's Writing Center, which provides academic support to students, I want to reassure Alyssa that as she enters the virtual classrooms, I personally am available to help her with her coursework, vie email. phone or ZOOM.. As for the college's decision to close the campus, resulting in her delay in cancelling her own flight, Menlo College did not rush to make a closure decision for a wide range of reasons. One reason (and I am theorizing here--not quoting the administration)is that we have so many small classes--I, myself teach seven international students in an English language instruction course. There may have been a perception that as a smaller community of less than 1,000 students, with very small classes. we were at lesser risk--of course, now as the situation unfolds, we realize that everyone is at risk. Should Menlo College have announced a closing BEFORE students left for Spring Break on March 6th? Stanford made their announcement to close at the end of the day on March 6th--the second major university to do so. Menlo's announcement came yesterday, March 11th, while students were still away on Spring Break.

So Alyssa and Almanac readers, that's my side of the case study. You look at the facts and weigh in here or privately on what should have been done and what we should do next. On the other hand, maybe we should wait until hopefully the Corona virus is far behind us. Then we can do a post pandemic analysis. As a professor, I tend to see teachable moments everywhere--and this is no exception.


parent
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:31 am
parent, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:31 am
4 people like this

Woodside High School and Woodside elementary/middle school are now closed for the next couple weeks, based on recommendations from the county.

Epidemiologist predictions are that this will continue for the spring, dip in the summer, and then resurge in the fall.

People need to change their thinking to longer term closures and impact until there is a widely available vaccine in a year.


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