Updated 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4

Palo Alto Unified School District community members are taking measures to further prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has been referred to as the novel coronavirus, after two students were sent home from school on Friday in connection with a parent’s potential exposure to the virus.

“We are taking steps over the weekend and beyond to sanitize our sites to the best of our ability,” Superintendent Don Austin stated in an email to parents this afternoon.


Frequently asked questions:

Will PAUSD schools be open tomorrow?

Yes — the district has confirmed that schools will remain open. “Closing schools at this point would not eliminate the infinite interactions our students would have beyond PAUSD,” Austin stated in an email earlier today.

Source: Superintendent’s Message Regarding Coronavirus and FAQ

How many cases have been confirmed in Santa Clara County?

As of March 4, 11 cases of COVID-19 have been identified within the county — one person has fully recovered. This does not include those who may have been exposed to the virus, such as the PAUSD parent and their children.

Source: County of Santa Clara Public Health Department

What can you do to protect yourself and those around you from the virus?

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid those who are sick and stay home if you are sick
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly; use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content if this is not an option
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw it out after use
  • Get your flu shot
  • Think about avoiding large gatherings

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, County of Santa Clara Public Health Department

Should you wear a face mask?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the general public NOT wear face masks. Those who are sick or are working closely with sick people should wear them to prevent further spread of the virus.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What should local schools do to prepare for what may come next?

  • Plan for absenteeism
  • Explore options for learning at home
  • Enhance cleaning of surfaces

Source: County of Santa Clara Public Health Department


Additional reporting by Avery Hanna and Myra Xu

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