PUSD cancels large gatherings, taking cue from Alameda County guidelines

This includes gatherings of more than 100 students/staff/parents: e.g. field trips, school dances, assemblies, school performances/concerts, etc.; sports events will be limited to 100 attendees.

Superintendent Randall Booker sent the following to PUSD Families on Tuesday evening, March 10:

PUSD District Leadership continues to closely monitor updates regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  Additionally, we are continuing to work with the Alameda County Public Health Department and the Alameda County Office of Education to ensure we are providing you with accurate and timely information. 

Over the past several weeks, District Staff have sent several communications to families and staff regarding proper health hygiene and etiquette and information on COVID-19.

January 31, 2020 – Letter to Families & Staff 
February 7, 2020 – Letter to Families & Staff 
February 24, 2020 – Letter to Families & Staff 
February 28, 2020 – Letter to Families & Staff 
March 6, 2020 – Letter to Families & Staff

The District is taking efforts to address student/staff and visitors’ hygiene and respiratory etiquette on our campuses, as well as planning for possible school closures.  This past week, I’ve been in informational and planning meetings with county, city, and district leadership, including the Director of Alameda County Public Health, the county superintendent, superintendents from across Alameda County, Piedmont school board members, and Piedmont’s mayor, vice-mayor, city administrator, and fire chief.

This afternoon, the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) released new information and guidance regarding gatherings. (SEE BELOW) This guidance directly affects Piedmont Unified’s normal protocols regarding a number of events and activities.  ACPHD recommends that communities, governments, businesses, and schools postpone or cancel gatherings and large community events where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another. These recommendations are meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and reduce the number of people infected, and especially protect those who are most vulnerable to severe illness.

Effective tomorrow, March 11, through April 10, the following conditions will be put into place in order to protect our students, staff, and community from the COVID-19 infection and reduce the possibility of community transmission:

Event Cancellations/Postponements 
Following guidance from the ACPHD, all upcoming school and district related medium-sized gatherings (more than 100 people) where students, staff, parents, and outside community members come together in close proximity to one another will be cancelled and/or postponed.

Specific upcoming events between March 11 and April 10 that are now canceled/postponed include: 

  • All field trips where students and staff will be assembled in groups greater than 100 people and/or when the District cannot ensure that students and staff are beyond arm’s length of one another due to the venue or planned activity;
  • All school dances;
  • Group assemblies greater than 100 people;
  • Professional learning events greater than 100 people and/or when the District cannot ensure that students and staff are beyond arm’s length of one another due to the venue or planned activity;
  • Parent education events greater than 100 people and/or when the District cannot ensure that students and staff are beyond arm’s length of one another due to the venue or planned activity;
  • All elementary, middle school, and high school performances, including vocal, instrumental, dramatic, and dance concerts.

Additional Restrictions
To the extent possible, and in an effort to limit the exposure in our community, the following restrictions are now in place: 

  • Outside rentals of PUSD facilities where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another will be canceled
    • District staff will coordinate with individual organizations regarding communication and possible rescheduling.
  • High school athletic events will be limited to 100 people in attendance and must be held in the largest venues on campus to accommodate guidance on increased social distancing (arms-length distance in seating/spectating). Ticketing protocols will be determined by school administrators. (Venues to be used include Witter Field, Binks Gymnasium, and the Morrison Gymnasium).
    • High school sporting event restrictions may be changed if additional guidance and/or restrictions are provided by CIF/NCS or the health department.

Possible School Closures 
At this time, the Alameda County Public Health Department currently is not recommending  closing schools. 

We will immediately implement the recommendations of the ACPHD and continue to monitor the actions of neighboring districts and counties.

If a staff member or student in a specific school is confirmed to have COVID-19, the Superintendent and local public health officials will consider, based on the specific facts and circumstances of that case, whether closure of that school is warranted.  Should the Public Health Department determine a school closure is warranted, the duration may be up to 14 days.

We will be suspending all instructional activities at the school site and extra-curricular activities in the event of a school closure.  We are continuing to develop distance learning opportunities and will have more information to share over the next several days.

Health Guidelines Remain the Same
The same simple steps that prevent the spread of ordinary flu viruses work against COVID-19 and other illnesses. 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cough into a tissue or your elbow (not your hand). Then throw tissue away and wash hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Keep students home if temperature is above 100.0 F (37.8 C) or they report not feeling well, appear weak or ill.
  • Consult your healthcare provider if you or your child has special health conditions that put you at increased risk.

Please feel free to reach-out if you have any questions.


Randall Booker, Superintendent

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