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'Let's focus on the fall,' Sequoia principals push back at parents' pressure to reopen more extensively this spring

Original post made on Apr 20, 2021

Some district parents have been vocal about wanting students back full-time in the fall and even as soon as this spring.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 19, 2021, 4:42 PM

Comments (20)

Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 20, 2021 at 8:56 am

Joseph E. Davis is a registered user.

> The return was not equitable, with white students overrepresented by 23% and Hispanic students underrepresented by 12%. It did not "mirror the school-wide demographic."

I object to this statement. If all students had equal opportunity to return, there is nothing "inequitable" about a demographic variance.

Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 20, 2021 at 10:29 am

pogo is a registered user.

If parents haven't figured out that their child's health and education is not the primary concern of the teachers' union, then they deserve their educational system.

The science is clear that students under age 18 have near-zero risk for infection. In fact, the risk in the classroom is LESS than at home or almost anywhere else (except the outdoors). Public schools have in some states have been open for months with less of an increase in COVID rates than California. It may surprise you that many of our local private schools have been open FOR MONTHS. And those private schools received zero COVID dollars from Congress. Somehow, they managed to get their children back into classrooms safely.

The teachers' union has finally revealed its concern... and it's not your children.

Posted by ln
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 20, 2021 at 12:24 pm

ln is a registered user.

Who ever intimated that teacher's unions were advocates for students? That's one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. It's pretty clear that teacher's unions advocate for the teachers. Period. It's about them, their benefits, their pay, their pensions, their ability to strike, and their ability to not show up for work when most people think they should.

Posted by ReginaR
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 20, 2021 at 12:26 pm

ReginaR is a registered user.

All I can say is good riddance to Principal Kennel. To make such an uncalibrated comment about that ridiculous “traumatic”lockdown is simply a deflection from the fact that there is work-avoidance going on at M-A. My son was participating in basketball tryouts in the M-A gymnasium when that lockdown occurred. This happened after the school day had ended, and there were less than 100 students on campus. Even so, Atherton PD managed to turn the situation into a two-hour circus, when they knew all along it was a hoax. Completely embarrassing. What we should be talking about here, is the fact that there are many teachers not reporting to campus for their in-person instruction jobs and still receiving full pay and benefits. The parents have a right to be informed as to which of their student’s teachers are unable to perform their duties and why. They work for us. We pay their salaries.

Posted by Tragic Loss
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 20, 2021 at 1:08 pm

Tragic Loss is a registered user.

I would really like to know if someone can please tell me why Sequoia Union High School District teachers think they are special while the inequities build among the student population drifting behind with each day.

California is last in the nation when it comes to in person schooling in high school.

And within California Sequoia Union is dead last relative to neighboring districts.

San Mateo 4 days/week
Palo Alto 4 days/week
Mountain View 4 days/week
Sequoia Union 2 days/2 week, then 2 days/week

Sure, they come up with lots of excuses, but why is it that almost every other high school in the nation has found a way instead of excuses. Is there something special about this district that is different from the other districts in the nation?

Posted by Charlene Margot
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 20, 2021 at 1:26 pm

Charlene Margot is a registered user.

Commenters, please be mindful of the fact that it is MUCH more complicated to open a school with 2,300+ students than one with 575 students. And yes, as Principal Diane Burbank notes, the divergent start rates for white and Hispanic students are not equitable, largely because BIPOC students/families have more barriers for in-person attendance.

Posted by Michael
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 20, 2021 at 1:33 pm

Michael is a registered user.

Take a deep breath. We will likely be back in Fall at 100% in-person learning. All the 16-18 year olds will be vaccinated and with a little bit of luck the 6-15 year olds will be too. We are very close to making it through a Pandemic that killed over 3 million fellow humans.

Posted by local teacher
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 20, 2021 at 1:41 pm

local teacher is a registered user.

For those parents whose children are suffering from depression and who are regressing academically with every passing day, it is not a matter of "taking a deep breath." Every day, hour, and second means further regression.

Posted by ReginaR
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 20, 2021 at 1:53 pm

ReginaR is a registered user.

I’m sorry. I WILL NOT “take a deep breath”. Did you read the same article that I did? It’s shocking. We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here.
If you can’t attend school because you have to “help support your family”, you don’t only need a vaccine, you need a social worker.
Personally, I have been saying all along that this whole mess, no longer even has anything to do with Covid. It has to do with a power grab by the Teachers Union and our kids are the ones suffering.

Posted by Michael
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 20, 2021 at 2:03 pm

Michael is a registered user.

It is almost safe to return, if we don't mess it up. We have effective vaccines going into arms barely 13 months into this nightmare. I have kids, its been very hard on them but bad stuff happens and we do our best to survive.

Posted by westridge resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Apr 20, 2021 at 2:54 pm

westridge resident is a registered user.

I am ashamed at the disparaging comments that some posters are making. Some have forgotten their filters. It seems that there is a ganging up mentality that does not take into consideration all of the stake holders. For example: One poster who "objects" to factual data. Many students have families with covid related upheavals in their families which prevent them from attending class. These tend to be those who have to work multiple jobs and for low wages. Some reason could be baby sitting needs, fear of contracting covid at school, their parents haven't gotten a vaccine yet, or no transportation because of the piecemeal schedule for the various schools.
I am glad that we are on the brink of moving towards "normalcy" and are moving in a positive direction, and I recognize that many have been adversely affected from the pandemic. Those complaining here only represent one constituent group and unfortunately need to check their entitlement at the door. It would be best to try and fix the problem and not the blame. Bickering amongst ourselves serves no value and continues to fan the flames of divisiveness. I think we could be more civil in our tone.

Posted by ReginaR
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 20, 2021 at 3:26 pm

ReginaR is a registered user.

Entitlement? Last time I checked, every American is ENTITLED to a publicly-funded education.
You go ahead and be ashamed. I’m not. I will always be an advocate for my children. The so called “barriers” to attending school do not have a place in this discussion. They are best addressed separately. Furthermore, I have heard nothing to counter the very thoughtful points made by one above commenter regarding the fact that progress made by SUHSD is not on par with many of our surrounding area, similarly large, districts. It is sorely lacking. This is why we are angry. Not because of some made up sense of entitlement, as has been suggested.

Posted by ReginaR
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 20, 2021 at 3:37 pm

ReginaR is a registered user.

I would also like to point out 1) that if you prefer an online Education, that has long been an option in California and 2) I do not find it logical or fair, that we should keep all children out of school because some have “barriers” to attending. Doesn’t it make more sense to move forward and work to find remedies, so that all who want to will eventually be able move along with the whole? Isn’t that how it used to work before the Teschers Union decided that they were special?

Posted by ReginaR
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 20, 2021 at 4:04 pm

ReginaR is a registered user.

Don’t let all the rhetoric cloud the issue. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS:
SUHSD cut a crap deal with our TU, and they are about to cut another crap deal for the Fall if we don’t speak up.
Vaccines, infection rates, and the like won’t matter, and before you know it, your kids won’t be back full time, or anything close to it come Fall!

Posted by Matt
a resident of Woodside: Skywood/Skylonda
on Apr 21, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Matt is a registered user.

I'm not sure if the teachers or the teachers union realize how much good will has been thrown away over the hesitancy to restart school. We're lagging out neighboring public districts. We're way lagging local and near by private schools.

None of the explanations do an adaquite job of explaining why our district is so far behind EVERY OTHER school system in the area.

All districts have both economic and ethnic diversity. We're not special there, so that can't be used as an excuse.

It's pretty obvious that the district has been overly cautious and hesitant to act. So much so that we're the outlier, not the norm.

Posted by Steve_J
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2021 at 3:01 pm

Steve_J is a registered user.

Remember your actions when you want voters to pass a special tax or renew a tax for the district.

Posted by Betsy Roble
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 22, 2021 at 9:05 pm

Betsy Roble is a registered user.

We have kids at Woodside Elementary which has been back to full-time, in-person for K-8 since November. The school does not provide a hybrid model: families had a choice to either come back in-person or utilize the County run Virtual Academy.

The reason they accomplished this is because at the very first school board meeting following the shut-down in March 2020, they began planning for return to school/re-opening. Every meeting involved setting milestones and updates from the State and County on the guidelines they would need to meet. Full credit to Steve Frank (Superintendent), the School Board, and yes - the Teachers Union.

Yes, WES is a small school, but the expectations set and continuous effort by the leadership made it happen.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 23, 2021 at 12:55 am

Bill is a registered user.

Citizens...let's stop the rhetoric that continues to cloud the issue. Can we have full time school if the pandemic continues!?! Absolutely not! Covid is REAL! Perhaps you have not lost a loved one, a friend, or someone you know will never be the same with continued breathing limitations and other covid related health restrictions! I don't want it for my family...and I don't want it for our students or our teachers (some who have also died in our local communities!). Sequoia Union High School District is strictly grades 9-12. Palo Alto is K-12, Mountain View is a variety of grades, as are all the other districts! San Mateo has its own 9-12 high school district. ALL of the high school grades are functioning 2 day on campus and 3 day off campus. A majority of high school students have also chosen to continue virtual learning. Whether they are at home or on campus-lessons are on zoom--YES all high school students are learning in zoom classes 5 day a week--Palo Alto, San Mateo, Mt. View, East Palo Alto, Los Altos, et al. Go do the research yourself! And a majority of students prefer it. Witness the small numbers of students who CHOOSE to continue on-line learning. Most of the students I know chose NOT TO RETURN to campus because they have not been vacinnated! SUHSD teachers are no more special than any other high school teachers--they are teaching 5 days a week on zoom just like all the other teachers in all the other high schools! And a majority of the SUHSD are teaching all week on campus. Teachers who are not are either ill or caring for someone ill, or cannot expose at-risk people in their home. And sorry but a vaccination is not a 100% free pass from Covid either. You can still pass it on to the unvaccinated! Let's really try to keep a perspective. We are ALL in this pandemic together! While you may believe your county public health authority has cleared schools to open---you again need to look at the detailed requirements the counties have set before opening!

Posted by Local Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 23, 2021 at 3:52 pm

Local Mom is a registered user.


Many neighboring K-12 high schools *and* high school districts are back 4-5 days/week, as mentioned above. Mountain View Los Altos is also a high school district, as is San Mateo Union High School District.

As for our County public health officials, Dr. Scott Morrow has been encouraging schools to reopen since last June 2020 - and again reiterated it in Dec 2020.

Here's a link to his statement in the summer that has a whole section on schools. Web Link

Here's a link and excerpt from his statement in Dec 2020:

Web Link

"The SAH order will make it more difficult for schools to open or to stay open. It is a very hard needle to thread to message that everyone must stay at home by strict order, but it’s ok for kids to go to school. I continue to strongly believe our schools need to be open. The adverse effects for some of our kids will likely last for generations. Schools have procedures to open safely even during a surge as evidenced by data. My earlier stated positions from June remain the same."

The CDC itself has stated: “K–12 schools should be the last settings to close after all other prevention measures in the community have been employed, and the first to reopen when they can do so safely.“

Even by CDC guidance, with our level of community spread, SUHSD should have - and would have - been open a long time ago. Just like MPCSD has been and Portola Valley have been... and schools all over our country and world.

Posted by Tragic Loss
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 26, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Tragic Loss is a registered user.


Teachers in Sequoia Union High School district are *not* teaching 5 days a week by Zoom. They are teaching 4 days a week. Wednesdays students have no classes and instead mostly busy work.

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