It is “very possible” that Palo Alto Unified School District will remain closed throughout the rest of the school year pending an official announcement from the state, Superintendent Don Austin said tonight at an ongoing Board of Education meeting.

Earlier today, California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond stated in a letter to district superintendents obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle that schools were unlikely to reopen before summer.

“It’s very possible that we will be notified that all schools will be closed for the remainder of the year so when that happens officially we’ll really have no new work to do,” Austin said at the meeting. “We are planning as if that is going to be the announcement anyway.”

For now, students will continue to learn at home as the district moves to Phase III of PAUSD’s distance learning plan after spring break, as outlined in the Superintendent’s Update this afternoon.

Thurmond emphasized the importance of improving remote teaching strategies.

“This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning,” Thurmond stated in the letter.

VIRTUAL BOARD MEETING — The Palo Alto Unified School District Board of Education met via Zoom for a virtual meeting this evening. Image: MidPen Media Center live broadcast

Related stories

PAUSD to switch to credit/no credit grading system following school closure extension

Sweeping standardized testing changes announced in light of COVID-19: AP tests moved online; SAT, ACT tests postponed

Fletcher student tests positive for COVID-19

View all COVID-19 stories here