March 12, 2020
Dear SPUSD Families,
As of today, no individuals within South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) have tested positive for COVID-19; however, there are two or more community transmission cases in Los Angeles County. Based upon recommendations from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, SPUSD is now following social distancing protocols at all schools.
Following are some questions and answers that may help you as we navigate the next few days:
How will spring break be impacted by coronavirus?
SPUSD is considering extending spring break in an effort to help mitigate virus spread. As a public school system, many legal, financial, employee and community implications must be considered before the District is in a position to adjust the school calendar, and you will be notified immediately about any changes that will be made. This extension may result in adding instructional days to end of the school year as required by the State of California. We are mindful that this plan may be disruptive, but the safety of students, staff, and the community is our number one priority.
What if someone at SPUSD is exposed to coronavirus?
SPUSD will be vigilant about investigating any reported cases. Should a confirmed case of Coronavirus exist within SPUSD we will work in consultation with Los Angeles County Public Health to take the necessary next steps. This situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
If I decide not to send my student to school or come to SPUSD will absences be excused?
We understand community concern about student health and safety. Some families have asked about keeping their own child home based on the fear of contracting COVID-19 at school. However, per Education Code at this time, we are unable to mark an absence excused for this reason. Our normal protocol remains in place. If a student is out for an extended period of time, a doctor’s note may be required. Any absence due to quarantine or illness will be excused.
How is SPUSD handling large gatherings at schools?
SPUSD is postponing or canceling all public events that bring large groups of students, adults, and community members together. Alternate approaches to these events, which limit close contact, may include conducting assemblies via intercom announcements or conducting events online.
Where should we pick up and drop off students at schools?
If you have a TK (transitional kindergarten) student or kindergarten student, follow directions for dropping off/picking up in the designated area on campus. Avoid congregating in large groups on campus.
If you have a first through fifth grade student, then try to avoid being on campus and use the specified areas to drop off/pick up your student(s).
For middle school and high school students, use designated drop off zones.
What is going on with sporting events?
SPUSD is following social distancing measures for all public events. Due to these changes, athletic events will be played, but no spectators – adults or students - will be allowed at the events. This includes outdoor events. The Rio Hondo League schools have agreed that all athletic events will be closed to spectators, but this directive may change at any moment.
Are all school trips canceled?
SPUSD is postponing or canceling all District-sponsored, out-of-state travel scheduled through the last day of school, June 3, 2020.
All school field trips scheduled through May 1, 2020 are canceled with the exception of Outdoor Science School for Arroyo Vista and Marengo Elementary Schools. SPUSD, in conjunction with LA County Department of Public Health and the LA County Office of Education, will determine if these trips will be permitted.
How should I conduct my scheduled parent-teacher conference?
Parent-teacher conferences will be held by phone or other online meeting method as directed by your child’s teacher.
Are visitors allowed on school campuses?
SPUSD is restricting visitors to schools, including volunteers.
Are outside groups still allowed to use SPUSD facilities?
SPUSD will work with community organizations that use our facilities after hours to determine if these events will proceed.
Will the Extended Day Program be canceled?
The Extended Day Program is a division of SPUSD and will follow the recommendations made by administration and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Students should be dropped off and picked up by one parent, if possible, on campus. Avoid congregating in large groups on campus.
What happens if schools close?
SPUSD is working with teachers to develop a reinforcement of learning plan for all grade levels. More information will be provided if faced with school closure.
How should I talk to children about coronavirus?
Keeping calm and reducing fear is essential when talking with children about Coronavirus. Useful tips may be found in the following article: http://bit.ly/2Iun5aSWhere should I check for information about coronavirus?
Please use only official government agency outlets to obtain information, for example:
• Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
• Los Angeles County Office of Education
• California Department of Public Health
• California Department of Education
• U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Whom may I contact if I have more questions?
SPUSD will continue to provide you with email updates as more information becomes available in the coming days.
Geoff Yantz, Ed.D.