Letter to the Editor | Piedmont community leans in

The Piedmont parent community has demonstrated incredible ongoing support for our students. Last summer, our school board tapped community member, parent of five Piedmont school graduates, and COVID expert George Rutherford to discuss safety around school opening. (Thank you Dr. Rutherford for your talks to PUSD and LWV.)

As PUSD started planning for the 2020-2021 school year, Piedmont parents rose up. Our parent health care workers offered to hold Q&A sessions for PUSD staff on COVID transmission and safety practices initially; and most recently, vaccine safety. In preparation for our purple tier waiver application, our advocates appealed to PUSD’s insurer Kaiser Permanente to prioritize teacher testing, meet with the county supervisors office to clarify waiver requirements and introduced PUSD leadership to companies providing teacher/student testing and contact tracing services.

With the start of school, parents provided critical tech support for chromebook roll out. We spent countless hours collecting data from other districts, sharing best practices, and campaigning with Alameda County leadership for clear and consistent guidelines for a return to inperson learning. Despite our community’s acute increase in childcare, extracurricular, and supplemental academics expenses, our PEF volunteers worked tirelessly to ultimately fundraise at levels comparable to years pre-pandemic. Parent clubs initiated a mask fundraising with high quality masks donated to teachers, ensuring both student and teacher safety. A single Piedmont mom spearheaded the placement of HEPA filters in the classrooms. 

During synchronous time, we provide our children with private, quiet work space (sometimes in the form of our home office). We have upended our work schedules to prevent connectivity issues. For essential workers, our children often had to navigate this process largely on their own as we could not always be home with them to help navigate a new way of learning on-line curricula or offer emotional support during periods of depression from social isolation.  Unfortunately, many in our community have needed to provide additional professional mental health support for their children. Many of us reduced hours, delayed a return to the workforce, or passed up on career advancement opportunities. We all work nights and weekends because there is simply no other time. Some have left their jobs. We are all grateful to be in a position to be able to make this choice.

Piedmont families, you have fully leaned in, providing time, money, skills, energy, patience, strength, and leadership. Unfortunately, we cannot relent in supporting our children and their education, until PUSD can also rise up.

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