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Superintendent Updates

Dear LLESD Staff and Families,

I am reaching you today to thank our teachers, staff, parent leaders and community for your strength and resolve in denouncing hate in our community. As our school board members communicated yesterday, the racial and gender-based hatred contained in Sunday’s social media posts do not reflect the values of our school district and our community. Diversity makes all of us stronger, and our entire Las Lomitas Elementary School District team is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for all students.

The last few days have been painful for our community, but through this I have been inspired by the commitment of our teachers, parent leaders and families to redouble our efforts to confront and address racism and equity in everything we do. It is my hope that together we can foster a diverse and inclusive community with schools that educate our students to lead with empathy, kindness and respect for all; and I invite your ideas and partnership.

As you know, our district has been engaged in equity and racial justice work for a number of years. On March 8, 2017 the district approved a robust Diversity and Inclusion statement. We have also provided training from the Museum of Tolerance, a unique experiential training that provides an environment to safely examine biases and promote an educational environment that is inclusive and equitable for all children, to nearly 200 members of our staff, board and community members. We also recently hosted a staff study group focused on race and equity with the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE).

Clearly, we must commit ourselves to doing more. This work is long term, and the district is committed to redoubling our efforts in multiple ways including:

  • Continuing our focus on equity in staff and community learning
  • Revisiting our policies and protocols to ensure we are doing everything in our power as a public institution to root out systemic racism in every aspect of our work
  • Engaging our community in honest and transparent conversation about how we treat each other

We are also in the beginning steps of a strategic planning process in which the Board, staff and community have identified equity as a top focus for future work. I look forward to exploring how we can use this structure and process to delve deeply into the topic and outline next steps for our district and community.

I would like to underscore my thanks to our teachers and staff for their continued dedication to equity and justice and all they do each day to educate our students. I also appreciate the commitment of our parent volunteers and entire community to come together as we work to create the best and most inclusive school environment for our students and staff. I look forward to continuing to build upon our plans in the weeks and months and welcome your ideas and partnership.

My very best,


Dear Families and Staff,

It is my immense pleasure to announce that I do not have any significant updates to share this week. This is the first time since March 12th that I could say that. 

What I can share is that the Board of Trustees will have its next meeting on Wednesday, August 26th at 5:30 via Zoom, using this link.

Please join us for the following report items:

1. Opening of Schools

Staff will provide an update about the preparation for and the first few days of Virtual Classrooms.  

2. Waiver and Testing Update

I will provide an update regarding our efforts to learn more about the waiver process for in-person instruction and how best the district might provide testing for staff in order to hold in-person instruction.

3. Small, Targeted In Person Instruction

Student Services Director Robin Spindler will share a plan for serving small, targeted groups of students on campus.

4. Presentation of Pandemic Recovery Plan

We will be seeking the approval of our full Pandemic Recovery Plan that includes much of the reporting shared in previously held Board reports. 

5. Renovation Projects Update

We will hear a report from our Owner Representative Mike Wasserman about our renovation/modernization program.

My sincere hope is that this message finds you and your families well and excited for the start of the school year. 

My best,

Dr. Beth Polito 

Dear Families and Staff,

Hello and welcome back to school. It has been a long, weird summer but at last we have a plan for the school year and are excited to have you and your children back. 

I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify how my weekly updates will compliment school communications. As we shift from planning to implementing the return to school plan, your family is going to be engaged with your child's teachers and site administration for more specific information that impacts your child's daily experience. I, on the other hand, will provide updates regarding our general circumstances as a district as it pertains to county public health restrictions that affect our school programs and delivery.

Some questions you may have: 

How will I know more about virtual and in-person learning?

As you know, we will begin the year with all students in virtual classrooms. It is our current plan that students will receive instruction in the virtual classroom until, at the very earliest, September 21st in Grades K-5 (6-8 will remain in virtual classrooms for one quarter at least). The district leadership team will work with our teacher and staff associations to monitor the public health crisis and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding a possible transition from virtual to in-person learning.

The Board of Trustees will meet August 26th to review and accept our full Pandemic Recovery Plan. It is likely that we will discuss details about how we might transition to in-person learning when allowable at this meeting. Key factors in our considerations include the availability and plausibility of testing for staff and the decision (yet to be made) to seek a waiver for K-5/6 classes to return to in-person instruction. 

What is the appropriate way for the Las Lomitas Elementary School District to support the needs of working parents/essential workers?

District staff has heard that families are actively seeking and securing ways to support/supervise students in virtual classrooms. We also understand that parents having class lists could help with these arrangements. Student placement is a very complicated endeavor and has been in process since early spring. The addition of long term virtual learners adds a level of complexity to the process. Site administrators have been working around the clock to secure these class lists/cohorts and by the time you receive this message, if you have not received your class/cohort placements yet, you will soon.

The best support we can offer for these "learning pods" is the very clear and consistent instructional day structure for virtual classrooms as well as consistent grade level/content area curriculum. Students across multiple grade level classes/cohorts should be able to work productively together with a high level of continuity of experience.

How can the district and families work together to ensure student and staff privacy and safety in the virtual classroom?

Site staff is working on creating a family/staff agreement that outlines best practice in the virtual classroom. The agreement will outline how to effectively support your student as they engage with the virtual classroom with regard to behavior, video participation and engagement. The agreement will also outline what you can expect from teachers/staff as well as what we hope to see in family member participation. These agreements might vary from grade span to grade span - older students should be encouraged to operate as independently as possible while small children will require more support.

See you on Zoom soon.

All the best,

Dr. Beth Polito

Hello Families and Staff,

Please see the update provided by the San Mateo County Office of Education regarding our county's placement on the State monitoring list and how it impacts the opening of schools.


Dr. Beth Polito



Impact of Placement on State Monitoring List on San Mateo County Schools 

Redwood City, CA-San Mateo County was formally placed on the State's monitoring list as of Sunday, August 2, 2020, somewhat limiting the flexibility of local schools to pursue various in-person learning options to start the 2020-21 school year. A summary of the implications for schools follows.

  • Middle schools and high schools can only resume in-person learning once the county has been off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days.
  • Elementary schools can open the school year with in-person learning, but only after applying for a waiver and being approved by San Mateo County Health, a process that helps ensure health and safety protocols are implemented.
  • Once the State releases the waiver process, San Mateo County Health will work in coordination with the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) to develop and implement procedures for local schools.
  • When the process is fully developed, SMCOE will share details with schools and post information on the SMCOE website.
  • Both public and private schools are subject to these restrictions.
  • Teachers and administrators are allowed to work on campus as they provide distance instruction and meet the specialized needs of students and schools.
  • Child care and preschool operations are not impacted by this order.
  • School campuses may remain open to serve the personalized needs of students, including instructional supports through one-on-one or small groups, access and support for digital devices, and distribution of school meals.
  • Also linked to the school reopening process is testing. Schools will need to develop a system for providing regular COVID-19 testing for staff who engage with students. SMCOE is working with county health officials to determine a variety of strategies for testing.
  • If a school has already opened for the 2020-21 school year, it is not required to close; however, it would need to implement a COVID-19 testing program for school staff.

SMCOE encourages elementary schools to explore the waiver option in order to get younger children on campus when school begins in the fall, or shortly thereafter. In-person instruction is particularly valuable to younger students whose early literacy and numeracy skills are paramount to long-term academic success. Maintaining the Four Pillars of school safety - health and hygiene, face coverings, physical distancing, and limiting gatherings - is also less complex in an elementary school where students can be arranged in smaller, stable cohorts.

According to San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee, "The COVID-19 virus poses real challenges to school safety, but by carefully and thoughtfully implementing the Four Pillars of safety and ensuring a system for contact tracing and testing, we can begin to serve some students in person while effectively controlling community spread. Through robust distance learning and in-person hybrid models, schools can continue to meet the needs of students, including those students with the most developmental and urgent learning needs."

Even if students are not able to begin the year on campus, it is clear, as Governor Newsom said on Friday, July 27th, that "learning is non-negotiable." Consistent with legislative action, San Mateo County schools are preparing to provide distance learning that will include daily live interaction with teachers and meaningful engagement with other students, as well as targeted supports and interventions for English learners and special education students. Schools have been preparing for this challenge, with many local teachers participating in SMCOE's distance learning training program offered this summer in partnership with the San Mateo County Community College District.

SMCOE also recently released an updated version of its Pandemic Recovery Framework, which incorporates recent legislative and public health policy changes. The Framework provides schools with guidance on topics ranging from the Four Pillars for a safe return to school, to board policies, cleaning protocols, and curriculum and instruction. The Framework includes companion documents addressing key topics such as mental health and early learning and childcare. More information on the Framework, Four Pillars, and related resources can be found on the SMCOE website.


The San Mateo County Office of Education is committed to ensuring excellence and equity in education by inspiring students, investing in teachers, invigorating leaders, and involving communities. 

Hello Families and Staff,


The local, county, state and federal landscape has changed since the early July Board meeting in which district staff were provided the guidance and direction to plan for an in person instructional program for the 2020-21 school year. The public health changes took hold about ten days ago and ever since the LLESD leadership team, teacher and classified staff associations and Pandemic Recovery Planning Committee have been working diligently to pivot and consider an amended plan for the opening of schools.


LLESD will start the school year in distance learning K-8. Our ability to offer in person learning will depend on our County's placement on the State watch list and our ability to provide testing for staff members according to public health guidelines.


Public Health Update

It appears that San Mateo County has been placed on the California Department of Public Health Watch/Monitoring list. Our county is in the 3 day "Active Engagement" phase that precedes County placement on the State's monitoring list due to our case rate/100K population exceeding the State benchmark of 100. Should our case rate remain above 100 for three consecutive days Middle and High Schools must begin with in distance learning only structure and elementary schools would need to secure a waiver to provide in person learning.


What does that mean for LLESD?

It means that we must start schools in full distance learning until San Mateo County is off the watch/monitoring list for 14 days, that we have a testing structure in place to assess staff according to CDPH requirements or we apply and are granted a waiver to allow for K-5 in person instruction (currently, no Middle or High School waivers are available).


When will we know what the details of the distance learning program will look like?

The Board of Trustees will hear a report and proposal from the Pandemic Recovery Planning Committee on Wednesday, August 5th that will include details about the school academic calendar, daily schedule, and details of the distance learning program in place format for the opening of schools.


Staff and community members can watch the Board meeting and or participate in the Zoom/chat on Thursday, August 6th at 10:00am. See invitations to both below.


Distance Learning Update

District staff has been working since the spring to learn from our collective experience with distance learning from March to June to identify areas for improvement should distance learning be part of our 2020-21 school year. 


Clearly distance learning in some capacity is a reality both now and likely for the foreseeable future.


The areas of focus for this work include:


Daily schedule for teaching and learning

We have agreed that all LLESD students will be assigned to stable cohorts K-8th grade. Students who will need to be served in distance learning long term will be included in these cohorts. The distance learning and in person learning instructional day will look similar in order to facilitate a consistent experience for students and staff regardless of the instructional model we are in based on public health guidelines.


Consistent content/curriculum

Grade level and content level teams will and are working together to ensure a high level of consistency regarding curriculum coverage. Priority will be given to reading, writing, math, science, social studies and PE. An extension rotation will be available to 6-8th grade students.


Synchronous/asynchronous instruction

The need for live interaction on a daily basis was shared by teachers and families alike during and after our spring DL experience. The daily DL schedule will provide multiple daily opportunities to engage live/synchronously to support community building, provide direct instruction and re-teaching/assessment and support following independent work time.


User experience/digital platform

It is our intention to have all classes in at least grade spans utilize the same educational digital format/platform for our students, parents and staff. We will have more specific direction shared as soon as possible by grade and or grade span as to which platform you should expect.



Wednesday, August 5th School Board Meeting:

Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device:
    Please click this URL to join.
4:25-4:30 Call for Comments
4:30-5:30 Closed Session
5:30-8:30 Open Session

Or join by phone:
    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
        US: +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799
    Webinar ID: 974 4355 4968
    International numbers available:


Thursday, August 6th Community Zoom/Chat:

10:00 am - Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device: 

Please click this URL to join. 


Or join by phone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 

 Webinar ID: 940 1667 8946 

 International numbers available:



In addition to the two live opportunities for updates I will continue to send a monthly newsletter as well as providing weekly written updates between now and the start of school.


My very best,


Dr. Beth Polito


Dear Families and Staff,


The leadership, staff and board of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District are working diligently and thoughtfully to develop a safe plan for our students to return to school. As we continue to get closer to a more specific reopening plan it will be increasingly important to remain patient and flexible. I recognize this is a difficult ask and that the coverage of both the health crisis and a school return are on a never ending media blitz deluding us with changing and sometimes contradictory information.


If you have not had the chance to follow the board meetings, superintendent chat/zoom meetings or read the newsletters over the last few months, here is a summary of where we are with our reopening plans. The LLESD Pandemic Recovery Planning Committee has agreed to use the San Mateo County Office of Education Pandemic Recovery Framework as a guide to our work. In an abundance of caution we have also agreed to use the guidance at its most conservative wherever possible.


A safe plan for reopening- 

  • Following County and State guidelines for safely reopening schools which includes conservative implementation of the four pillars -
    • social distancing (small, stable cohorts of students with limited adult contacts)
    • avoidance of congregation (no non-essential gatherings)
    • face coverings (all adults, student expectations increasing by age with 100% by grade 3)
    • personal hygiene (hand washing protocols)
  • Working with health professionals to craft daily health protocols to screen students and staff for safe entry to schools
  • Working with county supports to implement cleaning/disinfecting protocols

An abundance of resources-


LLESD is fortunate to have both significant classroom space and highly qualified, flexible and professional staff that will allow us to have small stable cohorts of students who can come to school five days a week for a modified day of core instruction. These cohorts of 16-18 students are as small as or smaller than what other districts are providing in hybrid A/B schedules and are actually SAFER than A/B schedules, for both teachers and students, because everyone has fewer overall contacts.


The Pandemic Recovery Planning Committee, an amazing and large group of teachers, parents and administrators, has worked over the summer to collectively create this schedule. Teachers and staff played a central role in designing the plan and we are blessed with a highly collaborative relationship with our teachers and our associations.



We had an amazing and large committee of teachers, parents and administrators who collectively created this schedule. Teachers and staff played a central role and we are blessed with a highly collaborative relationship with our teachers and our associations.


Distance Learning and the Survey-


It has been and continues to be our intention to provide a robust distance learning (DL) program for all students should the need arise (for example, a return to shelter-in-place, or a required quarantine for a school site or specific class) as well for those students who require the DL format all year. Our experience with DL this spring, along with our first survey of families and staff, revealed actions needed to improve student and staff experience in DL. Actions include modeling the DL day to mirror the in person day as much as practical, streamlining the platform experience and providing continuity of core academic programming across the grade level or department. We are investing in training and professional development to address these needs.


The survey that went out last week was a necessary tool to collect a specific data point: up-to-date numbers of students who might want or need to proactively engage in a) DL-only option for next year. Family response to the survey is very important information that we need to finalize our staffing. That being said, families who indicate their intention to enroll their student in distance learning will not be held to that decision at this stage of planning. Once we know how large this population is, we can provide more specifics about how the DL-only program can be sustainably staffed and delivered.


Our work continues daily until we open schools. Next steps include defining start and end times of the day, crafting our bus schedule to align with those times, finishing staffing for our in person and distance learning programs, and providing professional development to support those programs. Lastly we will need to continue to work with our staff and community to make our safety expectations clear and well-understood. It is vital to our in-person program that the safety measures established be taken seriously by everyone.


Thank you again for your patience and flexibility.


Stay safe,


Dr. Beth Polito

Dear LLESD Staff and Families,


I am sure you are anxious to learn more about what reopening of schools will look like for 2020-21. There are a number of communication opportunities for you to keep on your radar and to learn more about what our plans are.


Wednesday, July 1 Board Meeting, 5:00pm Open Session


The Pandemic Recovery Planning Committee (PRPC) will make it's second presentation to the Board of Trustees (the first was June 11th and the recording can be found on the district website) on Wednesday, July 1 at approximately 6:00 p.m. The PRPC has worked tirelessly over the last month to study best practice, school opening models, health protocols, wellness efforts and worked with our associations to come up with a safe, student centered plan for the reopening of schools. 


Additional opportunities to stay updated:

  • July newsletter July 2/3
  • July 8 Zoom/Chat with Families @ 10:00 a.m.
    • Early August Board Meeting to hear "final" reopening report from PRPC
  • Early August newsletter
  • August 5th Zoom/Chat with Families @ 10:00 a.m.

Thank you and we are so excited to have our students back on campus in the fall.




Dr. Beth Polito 

Dear LLESD Community; students, parents, teachers and staff: 

We are in the midst of an unprecedented time. We do not have all the answers. However, we know it is important to clearly communicate to you how we make decisions and why we make decisions. Two-way communication is imperative and, we as a community, have to make clear and frequent communications a touchstone of how we operate. Thank you for participating in our district surveys as your feedback is critical in helping us plan for our next school year.

As a district, we have to take our healthcare guidelines from professionals at the county and state level. If health guidelines allow for students to be in school, we will do everything we can to have students in school. Our ability to adhere to safety protocols effectively may have impact on our ability to return to in person instruction in the fall.

We will make decisions as to how to do that with the following key principles in mind:

Principle #1: LLESD will deliver the best education possible in the safest environment for all.

Principle #2: The social, emotional and physical health of our students, staff, faculty and community has to be the #1 priority, in line with education.

Principle #3: As always, we will do all we can to ensure equity and access to all of our students.

We know that in-person education is better for our students and our hope is that we will be able to gather in the classroom in the fall. We have been carefully evaluating all options to get as many students as possible from all grades back on campus safely.  However, if in-person education is not possible for a day, a week or a month (or at all) we must have a robust online education system ready to go. We are working now and throughout the summer to improve the synchronous and asynchronous online delivery of instruction for next school year. We know we must all be prepared for a year where we may have to toggle between in-person and online education. And for some students and some teachers with conditions that won't allow them to attend school in person, we have to make accommodations for them to receive and deliver instruction from home.

There is new information about the pandemic every day, so having a 100% decision now for what the fall and the start of the new school year (August 19) will look like is hopeful, but not realistic and we thank you for your patience as we work through the myriad of logistics in planning for next year. We know we want to be in school as much as possible, how that will work is still being worked on. We will have touch points through the summer, including Zoom updates from me on July 8 at 10am and August 5 at 10am. We will also have a special board meeting on July 1 at 4pm. Zoom info will be posted on

If we are allowed to be in the classroom in the fall by state and county health directors, we will have protocols in place for social distancing, classroom and bathroom cleaning, hand-washing, facemask wearing and temperature taking. As a community, we must take all these protocols seriously...our children and our staff deserve this. We must also respect our fellow community members and take very seriously any symptoms that could be COVID. Therefore, now more than ever, if you are sick or think you are sick or have a sick family member, do not expose the rest of the school...stay home and follow health and safety guidelines. We will accommodate online learning for those students who may have to self-quarantine themselves.

As we have new information, we have to be flexible and patient in how we operate and support our students, staff, parents and teachers. Throughout the summer and year make sure you participate in providing feedback (Superintendent Coffees, Board Meetings, parent/teacher conferences, school surveys, etc.) as we need to hear from parents about what is working and not working for their students. We will endeavor to record all of the public meetings and make them available on our website so as many who want to access these updates and information can do so asynchronously.

The Board of Trustees received a robust report from our Pandemic Recovery Planning Committee last night that included reports specifically about operations, wellness, schedule/curriculum and communications. Highlights from that report include:

  • Operations planning is well under way with the purchase of employee personal equipment, personal hygiene supplies, and movement materials to guide students while on campus, evolving direction on mask wearing, and preliminary plans for student transportation
  • Wellness efforts have included collection of student and staff needs, the development of short term and long term support structures
  • A review of variables that impact our ability to offer in person instruction in the fall including space, staff and ability to follow safety protocols effectively. Our preliminary models include in person instruction for all students K-8 to some degree in stable cohorts of 16. K-5 cohorts are conceptually similar to current self contained classes and are easier to plan for. The middle school program is more complex because there is higher variation in the schedules and specialists who teach them.  Therefore, we are still evaluating the best model to balance the strong desire to have students in person with the ability to deliver instruction effectively and will likely include in-person instruction with some remote learning opportunities.
  • Communications efforts include the development of agreed upon principals listed above from which to make decisions, this letter and an ongoing plan for transparent and regular communication for all stakeholders 
  • Please view the board meeting using this link.

As I said, this is all a work in progress, but I hope that you know we are all looking forward to seeing your student's smiling face in the classroom (fingers crossed) and/or online for the 20-21 school year. We will always follow our 3 key principles in making decisions and in guiding your child(ren) through our school district. Be well and look for my updates in July and August.


Thank you,

Dr. Beth Polito

LLESD Superintendent

April 8, 2020

Dear Staff and Families,

As you may have already learned, the dismissal of students/closure of schools has been extended to the end of the school year. The specific date was not shared via the order as the 23 districts in our county have different ending dates. This news was tough to hear for me, our staff and I would assume your families. The decision to extend the dismissal/closure of schools was made by the six counties public health officers that we have been taking direction from since the initial dismissal March 13th.

Our fabulous teachers and staff will continue to offer distance learning and we will begin to prepare for any version of summer school that we may be able to offer. Our hope and dream is that we are able to come back to school sooner than the fall and will continue to take direction from public health while preparing for any possibility of an early return to on campus instruction.

In the meantime, school offices and campuses are closed while we are in Shelter in Place. Please email staff directly with any questions you have. If you wish or need to speak to a live person, the district office remains open for the limited daily hours of 10-1.

Now that distance learning 2.0 is up and running some of our district staff are shifting our attention to the social and emotional well-being of our staff and families during this difficult time. Please be on the lookout for a message about our updated website and a link to connect you to the resources both staff and families can find there.

Lastly, the Board of Trustees has its next board meeting, Wednesday April 15th at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held via Zoom. The link can be found below that will take you to the district landing page where you will find directions to join the meeting. The key agenda items include a budget revenue report, English Language Arts and Science Adoption proposals and a renovation/modernization update.  

Please join us.


Dr. Beth Polito


April 2, 2020

Dear Staff and Families, 

You might have seen or heard that at the Governor's press conference yesterday and the remarks he made to the press, the day before, he stated that "school" will not resume before the end of the school year. "School" meaning we will not be delivering instruction face to face. 

We recently communicated to our stakeholders that we would take public health's direction again and extend dismissal of students to May 1 as shelter in place was extended to May 3rd. 

This extension of dismissal of students to the end of the year is new and not anticipated  information. The way this information was shared might have caused some additional stress for families.  

It might appear that this decision is final and was made final by the Governor and State Superintendent. However, short of public health direction (which has been the direction we have taken thus far) and or an executive order from the Governor, the decision to extend dismissal of students until the end of the year is not final until each local education association/district makes it so. It is possible  that the Governor is requesting that school districts and counties follow his lead on this matter. However, I believe it is in our best interest to wait before acting on the Governor's lead until we are aligned with the public health department's direction around extending shelter in place, which also seems imminent.

I know this is confusing. I have been working with Capital Advisors, ACSA, San Mateo County Superintendent Association and our County Superintendent to determine how best to interpret direction from different sources regarding our educational response to a health crisis. 

All of that being said, it is probable that we will not resume face to face instruction prior to the end of the school year. 

Our distance learning program will continue. We now have a longer runway. I am completely confident that we can do this for our kids and families. For those of you who are trying to work and support your students with distance learning, I can only say that I feel for you every single day. The stress of managing both the isolation and the fear are tough to manage.  We want to hear from you about how we can best support your family.

You will have received an invitation to a parent support group that will be hosted weekly starting tonight. I can only imagine that the thought of juggling for even longer might encourage you to reach out to such a resource. I hope you do.

When we return to distance learning Tuesday, April 7th you should expect new, detailed direction from your student's teacher(s) and increased opportunities to connect. I also anticipate that we will continue to get new information from the health department that will align with the closure of campuses through the end of the school year. 

I have nothing but respect for how our staff has risen to the occasion for our students and families. I am sure you will get the best support they can possibly provide for as long as this situation lasts.


Dr. Beth Polito



March 31, 2020

Dear Families,

There is so much going on right now; unexpected events around us, trying to manage, for many of us, working from home, trying to support our children as they navigate distance learning and the underlying stress of a health crisis. During this unusual time it might be helpful to have some support from each other and district resources such as our counselors from Adolescent Counseling Services. We hope this service will become a weekly zoom opportunity for 10-12 families and our facilitators from ACS.

Catherine Wohlwend, AMFT (Associate Marriage and Family Therapist) and her colleague Andrea Delariyala, La Entrada Counselor Intern will co-facilitate a parent group starting this Thursday, April 2nd from 7:00 pm. To 8:30 p.m. 

The intent of the session is to focus on some concrete skills, get to know each other a bit and have time to dialogue and support each other. 

Here is a little bit about Catherine and Andrea:

Catherine has been the Site Manager at La Entrada since the start of this current school year. Her clinical focus is mainly on anxiety, perfectionism and relationship issues. "Mindfulness and self-compassion always guide my work. I, of course, adore working with adolescents due to their curiosity and energy, but I also have extensive training in couples counseling and when I'm not supporting La Entrada students, I work at a group practice called Empathi, in San Francisco where we specialize in couples counseling".

 Andrea has several years of experience working with kids with social-emotional struggles, even working in a therapeutic day school. She is passionate about supporting adolescents and has been supporting a full caseload this year at La Entrada while finishing her master's thesis. She is known for her attention to planning her sessions; down to ensuring we have the best glitter in stock for her art therapy interventions.

We are thinking of you and hope you are taking care of yourselves as you care for others.


Dr. Beth Polito


Dear Families,

Just to be clear, tomorrow and Friday remain teaching and learning days. April 6th will be a teacher planning day.


Dr. Beth Polito


March 25, 2020    

Dear Families, 

I hope this message finds you and your families well and managing this situation to the best of your ability. As I am sure you have heard, the dismissal of students and shelter in place have been extended to May 1st.

Our spring break is next week, March 30-April 3rd. I am going to strongly encourage staff to take the entire week off to rest and rejuvenate for the four weeks of distance learning we will embark upon when we return.

Per direction from the health department we are going to start locking the campuses to the best of our ability. While we also encourage you to get out and take walks, we do not want our efforts at social distancing to be hampered by people accessing our outdoor equipment and play structures as they are not cleaned daily and could increase exposure to families.

During Shelter in Place the district and school offices will remain open for limited hours 10-1:00, with only essential employees present. If you wish to reach us please do so via email if at all possible. All staff members will be checking their email regularly.

Our first foray into distance learning has gone well and I cannot thank the teachers and staff enough for their very thoughtful work supporting students, families and each other. We now have another four weeks of distance learning ahead of us.

So what does that mean for Las Lomitas Elementary School District?

In preparation for this, we have been working on a second phase plan that we are calling Distance Learning 2.0 (DL 2.0). We have gathered information on the successes and challenges of our first 8 days, considered feedback from staff, students, and families, reviewed state and county recommendations, and collaborated with other Districts who are on this journey with us.

The need for planning time is essential for the successful roll out of this phase of teaching and learning. Teachers and staff will be allowed onto campuses on Thursday/Friday of this week and Monday, April 6th to gather materials and prepare for DL 2.0. It is likely we will also take another planning day April 20th as we plan for the last two weeks of distance learning.

You will be receiving a message from your site principal on Friday about how to gain access to additional materials your student may need for the next couple of weeks.

Please be on the alert for a message from your student's teacher about the detailed plan for the next two weeks of DL 2.0. It is likely that this direction will not come until teachers have had a chance to gather materials and do some planning.

Lastly, a district team is meeting Friday to pull together a plan to provide support and resources for family emotional well-being during this time of uncertainty and isolation.

Hang in there and know that we miss your students terribly and cannot wait to resume our traditional schooling model as soon as it is safe to do so.


Dr. Beth Polito



March 19, 2020   

Dear Staff and Families,

New COVID-19 guidance from the California Department of Education indicates that child care and student supervision is a significant concern and area of concentration.

We are lucky here in Las Lomitas Elementary District to partner with Champions to provide onsite child care at Las Lomitas School. During Shelter in Place, Champions can serve 12 students per class of which we have three (we could expand to other classes should the need arise).

Champions has enough staff to support all three classes as well and could staff more classes again, should the need arise.

Child care programs are being charged with providing support for essential worker children.

Essential workers include those in these lines of work:

What are "Essential Businesses"?

The Order provides the following list of "Essential Businesses":

  1. Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure;

  2. Grocery stores, certified farmers' markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;

  3. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;

  4. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;

  5. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;

  6. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;

  7. Banks and related financial institutions;

  8. Hardware stores;

  9. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses;

  10. Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;

  11. Educational institutions-including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities-for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible;

  12. Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers;

  13. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;

  14. Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;

  15. Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate;

  16. Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences;

  17. Airlines, taxis, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;

  18. Home-based care for seniors, adults, or children;

  19. Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;

  20. Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities;

  21. Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must operate under the following mandatory conditions:

  • Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer ("stable" means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).

  • Children shall not change from one group to another.

  • If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other.

  • Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.

Champions will take children of the essential workers listed above starting Monday, March 23rd. The first 36 students who register will get the existing spaces. If we have a larger need, we will work together to expand to more classrooms on site. Families will not be able to "drop in". The same 36 students will have access in those classrooms for the duration of Shelter in Place. 

If you are interested in registering for child care please register via this link. Sharon Pfeiffer, Champions Director, will then follow up with you shortly thereafter.


Dr. Beth Polito



March 16, 2020   

Dear Staff and Families,

You will have heard that new direction has been provided to us by the San Mateo County Public Health Department as of 1:00 p.m. today. 

The order, which requires self isolation for all community members except essential business and services starting tomorrow and ending April 7th, will minimally impact our current plan for distance learning.

School and district staff are considered essential when preparing or implementing distance learning. It is our plan to continue with our work of preparing for now 9 days of distance learning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17th. All certificated and classified staff are invited to work on campuses if needed to continue preparing materials for both digital and in person distribution. 

District office leadership will be sending out parent guidance about distance learning, a structure for the collection or delivery of materials including student medication, specialized equipment for a small number of students with specific needs and instructional materials for some students that may not have easy access to digital learning programs. Please keep your eyes open for this communication that will come out this afternoon.

For the nine days that we are operating with only essential employees the school and district offices will be open modified business hours 10-2 and site administrators and teachers will be available via email. 

We will continue to be available to families and staff and will do our best to respond to those needs in a timely fashion.

Please take care of yourself,

Dr. Beth Polito


Dear Staff and Families,

The landscape of navigating COVID-19 took a significant turn this morning. We have been directed by public health order to transition from at-school group learning to distance learning starting Monday, March 16th. Schools are required to adopt a new instructional model in order to maintain proper social distancing as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Our team has been planning for the inevitability of this action and as you know we have a staff planning day scheduled for Monday to work on the details of our instructional program in this new format. Due to this quick change in direction we will have no student days Monday and Tuesday next week and begin Distance Learning Wednesday, March 18th. Our staff needs more than one day to properly prepare for this significant shift in instructional practice.

While we cannot predict how long the health crisis will last, we are hopeful that we will be able to resume regular classes on-campus on April 6th immediately following our spring break March 30-April 3. Should this change, we will keep you updated. 

It is likely after our training/preparation days on Monday and Tuesday that we will establish a plan for one campus to remain open to staff and for students receiving unique or specialized services.  District and site staff will continue to work on our campuses to develop and implement Distance Learning Plans, while implementing social distancing protocols to protect their safety. Our staff will be working to create flexible learning options for students to use while away from school. These resources are not intended to replicate the in-class learning experience, but simply provide a small degree of educational continuity during the current public health situation.  We know that different families will have different time windows when students may be able to work on assignments. More details on the opportunities to join teachers in video chats, online discussions, and/ or office hours to support the at home learning will be communicated early next week. 

We will also provide sack lunches for students who qualify for free and reduced lunches.
We will update you with a schedule to pick up lunches, specialized services, and Distance Learning support materials, and medication by the end of the day Monday, March 16th.

This landscape is rapidly changing and we are navigating it as best we can.  We anticipate that much in our plans will need to shift as a new reality becomes apparent and we will attempt to regularly communicate these changes to you.

We need your help in helping your student to understand these decisions. It is expected that children, whether our youngest learners or our adolescent learners, will feel the pain of disappointment and loss when they think about aspects of school that they had been looking forward to that are now canceled. We understand that Distance Learning is not the same as the in-person learning they have come to know and love. And we can anticipate that some students may take this very personal impact of COVID-19 and realize the immense weight of the pandemic that they have been reading or hearing about. Be there, be present, and love your children. They may need you right now more than they are showing.

We also ask for your patience, understanding, and grace as we adjust to the Distance Learning model.

Remember, in order to slow the spread of this virus, we need to put into place practices that support the slowing of the spread such as:

  •     If you are sick, stay home and away from the non-sick especially if you have fever,            cough or sneezing.
  •     Cancel or postpone non-essential activities.
  •     Minimize your time in the general public (mall, theatres, other locations) especially large events.
  •     Wash or sanitize your hands regularly throughout your day.
  •     Avoid touching your face especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
  •     Be aware of your neighbors who live alone and provide support if needed.
  •     Together we can slow and maybe stop this spread but we each need to do our part and encourage one another to do the same.

Thank you for your continued patience and support. I will remain the point of contact should you have any questions about the district’s program response to this Public Health directive.


Dr. Beth Polito

Dear Staff and Families,

I hope this message finds you and your family well. Updates regarding COVID-19 are coming in daily and sometimes more often than that and we are making every effort to keep all constituents informed to the best of our ability.

No Student Day - Monday March 16th
The district leadership team has decided to take a full day without students on Monday to work with our staff to prepare for a potential school closure and subsequent distance learning. 

Sick Student/Staff Protocol - New Direction
The SMC Health Department and other health officials are clear that the same precautions you would use for the seasonal flu, you should employ to guard against COVID-19. As recommended by San Mateo County Health:

  1. Cover your cough and sneeze. 
  2. Wash your hands frequently.  
  3. Avoid shaking hands and touching your face with unwashed hands. 
  4. If you are not feeling well or are experiencing cold, flu, or other symptoms, contact your primary care provider and stay home from school or work.  
  5. Like washing your hands, wearing a surgical mask may help a bit but you need to know that surgical masks don’t offer much protection when they are worn by people who are well. They are most helpful when worn by those who are already sick, so that they are less likely to transmit the disease to others. Surgical masks are already in short supply and should be prioritized for use in health care settings.  
  6. You should use a barrier, such as a paper towel or tissue, to touch commonly touched surfaces, such as bathroom door handles or elevator buttons.

If your student is experiencing any (previous advice was about a fever only) flu symptoms, please keep your children home.

Again, thank you for your patience.


Dr. Beth Polito

Dear Families and Staff, 

Non-Essential Meetings/Events

The Board Meeting Wednesday, March 11th
This meeting will take place at the District Office. Closed Session will begin at 6:30 and Open Session at 7:00. Our agenda has been amended to only include time sensitive item to reduce the need for more than essential staff participation.

League Activities/Vendor use of Facilities/Field Trips
We have decided to postpone League, sports and field trip events until spring break. Non school district entities who had scheduled to use our facilities for meetings will be asked to cancel or postpone them for the foreseeable future.

Champions will continue to provide on site child care and will work with the district to ensure students and staff are following the personal hygiene protocols set up recently.

Thank you for your continued patience.


Dr. Beth Polito

Dear Staff and Families,
I hope this message finds you and your family well. Updates regarding COVID-19 are coming in daily and sometimes more often than that and we are making every effort to keep all constituents informed to the best of our ability. I am in regular contact with the County Office of Education and San Mateo County Health Department regarding current guidance around our plans for essential and non-essential group events, facility/classroom cleanliness maintenance, potential exposure to COVID-19 and the district's response, dismissal of students/school closure and personal hygiene.
Essential Group Events: Daily instruction will continue as normal
Non Essential Group Events: Events that are deemed outside of daily instruction will be modified, postponed or canceled for the foreseeable future
The following events will be postponed
Week of March 16:
            -Parent education Night March 18th
            -LE Middle School Dance March 20th
Facility/Classroom Cleanliness
We have no new information about best practice in terms of keeping our schools and classrooms clean. We are continuing to take direction from our San Mateo insurance group, County Office of Education and Public Health.
That being said, we are going to take advantage of the weekend to do a commonly touched surface cleaning with a bleach based disinfectant in all the classrooms and common spaces and starting next week custodians will be cleaning all classroom surfaces nightly.
Potential Exposure
Regardless of the reason why someone within our community might have had contact with someone presumed or tested positive with COVID-19, we are taking guidance from SMCOE and the Public Health department about providing access to our schools. On a case by case basis we are working with families as questions arise about those who have traveled, are arriving new to us or have had potential contact with a presumed or confirmed COVID-19 victim. In an abundance of caution we have made a couple of decisions this week to ask families to work with us to keep their students home in voluntary isolation.
We have also been advised that sharing detailed information about individual family circumstances is not only inappropriate, it violates that family's confidentially rights.
Dismissal of Students/School Closure
While businesses and some non-public schools have chosen to close school for specific and short term interventions, nothing has changed for this topic for us. In the event of closure we will take guidance from the San Mateo Public Health Department.
Personal Hygiene
Your school Principal will be sending out a message to all staff this weekend to outline a hand washing protocol and schedule that will be initiated starting Monday. As I mentioned in the last message we have ordered more hand sanitizer for each classroom and common areas. We hope those items will arrive next week.
Lastly, the San Mateo County Health Department has a public call center for general, non-medical questions about the virus that will operate from 7:00am to 7:00pm from Monday through Friday. Currently the contact number is 650-363-442, however we have been notified that the contact number will change to 211 in the coming days.
Again, thank you for your patience.

Dr. Beth Polito

Dear families and staff,

As many of you know there was a local school closure due to COVID-19 today at Menlo School (independent school). A staff member there had contact with a family member who tested positive for COVID-19. The closure through the weekend is intended for deep cleaning of the facility.

I also just received the following message from the San Mateo County Office of Education regarding declaring local emergencies in order to help the county agencies to combat the impact of COVID-19. While the notice encourages sick students to stay home, we will continue to follow the protocol of sending students home  if they have a fever of 100.00 degrees or higher.  Our nurses and school leaders are trained to recognize a wide variety of  medical problems.  When necessary, a student's parent is contacted and the child will be sent home. We will continue to be vigilant in assessing and responding to student health concerns.  We are fortunate to have highly capable nursing with the expertise and information to make reliable health assessments during this unsettling time.

The local emergency announcement highlights the need to keep our facilities clean. Our schools and school district are working tirelessly to ensure all classrooms, restrooms, water fountains and common spaces are cleaned and disinfected daily using approved, effective and safe methods. 

We do not anticipate changing course unless directed by San Mateo County Health Leadership. While awaiting possible change in direction, district staff is working together to anticipate ways to provide distance learning. Lastly, district nurses, wellness coordinator and administration are meeting with all students this week to review personal hygiene protocols and appropriate and kind peer interactions during this health situation.

Impact of San Mateo County’s 
Local Emergency Announcements on Schools

Redwood City, CA—The San Mateo County Office of Education will continue to collaborate closely with its partners in San Mateo County government to support the county’s 23 school districts, private schools, early learning community, and Community College District as they work to mitigate the evolving impact of COVID-19 in the Bay Area. Today’s announcement of the County’s two declarations of local emergencies will help the County step up those efforts.

Yesterday, County Manager Mike Callagy proclaimed a local emergency in San Mateo County, and County Health Officer Scott Morrow declared a local health emergency. The Board of Supervisors will ratify both documents at its March 10 regular meeting. The declarations, which are part of the County’s COVID-19 response efforts, may help make the County eligible for certain state and federal financial and technical resources. Several other Bay Area counties have made similar proclamations. 

While the declarations may help the County in its prevention and planning efforts, they do not represent a change in direction of how schools will operate at this time. Schools will continue to follow recommended hygiene and health prevention measures. For example, school campuses will remain vigilant in cleaning common areas such as bathrooms, water faucets, classrooms, playground equipment, and cafeterias to minimize the spread of germs. Staff and students who are sick will be encouraged to stay home. Schools will remind students and staff to wash their hands often, avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands, and cover their sneezes and coughs. 

If San Mateo County Health releases additional or new guidance for schools, the County Office of Education will help schools and educators adopt new practices and communicate with families and staff.

“Even though the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak is currently low, we are grateful the County of San Mateo is taking this important step to increase its prevention and planning efforts. We turn to San Mateo County Health for guidance and assistance in helping us support schools, so we are pleased they may have more resources to do this important work,” commented San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee. 

The County Office of Education provides schools with communication, prevention, planning, and other support; coordinates school district planning efforts; and maintains a website with resources for educators and families. A PDF of this release can be found here.

Thank you for your continued patience. 

Dr. Beth Polito

Dear Families and Staff,

I hope this message finds you and your family well. News around COVID-19 seems to be changing quickly. Therefore please find up-to-date guidance and direction below:

1. Travel and Student Registration

Students who are arriving to us from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified countries will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days starting with the last person in the home's arrival. Anyone who is known to travel to any of the identified countries will be asked to initiate the same self-quarantine. Anyone who is arriving to us or traveling from identified countries will also be asked about their family's current health status by school staff. The school and district staff may make recommendations about start dates based on the information shared with us from each family.

As you may become aware of other family's international travel please encourage them to contact the school to check in. I would impress upon you that each family's personal choices are just that and we all have very little control over what each other chooses to do. We can only control our own choices and our reaction to others. 

2. Personal Hygiene and facility cleanliness guidelines

Nothing has changed from the previous message about how best to combat contracting the flu of any variety. The CDC recommends the use of personal masks for those exhibiting flu symptoms and see no benefit of those who are healthy in wearing them. 

As for classroom and school cleanliness, while current practices around janitorial and classroom teacher efforts are the only proven ways to kill germs, we have secured classroom sanitizers for every classroom and standing hand sanitizers for common spaces to supplement our current efforts.

3. Student Absences

Families who choose to keep their children home due to illness or concern about contracting an illness will be granted an excused absence. School staff will work with families regarding make up work using current absence related procedures. 

4. School Closures

In the event that a closure is directed by the County Health Department, we will make the necessary arrangements to continue teaching and learning to the best of our ability.  The Leadership Team has discussed multiple forms of delivery for primary, upper elementary and middle school students under such conditions and we will be prepared should the need arise.

Thank you for your continued patience.


Dr. Beth Polito


Dear Staff and Families,
As you have likely noticed there seems to be an uptick in news coverage and subsequent concern over the progression of COVID-19. I have just met with the San Mateo County Superintendent Association, County Office of Education Superintendent Nancy Magee and County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow.
We discussed the evolution of the virus, how it compares to previous pre pandemic/pandemic scares in the past and what, if any guidance has changed for schools and districts.
While things may change quickly in terms of how the virus might impact our work, as of now, we are being guided to continue our programs as normal.
That being said, our focus will likely be more strategic to the things we can control, such as:
-Work with district and county resources to ensure our facilities and cleanliness procedures are in line with current recommendations
-Continue to reinforce personal hygiene strategies that are in line with flu season protocols
-Monitor, to the degree we can, student arrivals from high risk countries and ensure school/district support for any student who may need to receive home instruction
A vital aspect of our work is to maintain a calm and safe learning environment for our students and staff. It is incumbent upon us all to set that standard of calm and positivity for our students.
School closures have been discussed in the media and within our community. As of today we have no guidance or criteria to make such a decision to close schools. Despite the lack of direction at this time district staff is working collaboratively with districts across the county to prepare for continued instruction in the event of a closure.
We commit to communicating with all our constituents factual and timely updates whenever possible.
I am encouraged we operate in a county that has close relationships with our county office of education, county health department and all our neighboring districts. We will rely on each other for support and guidance as we navigate this difficult situation.
I am including a message from the County of San Mateo Health Department. It includes very practical guidance for everyone now and if circumstances were to escalate.
Thank you for your patience and support.
Dr. Beth Polito

Statement from the Health Officer

 Leer en español

I share the concerns of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): we all need to be prepared for COVID-19 to spread within the United States. Our lives may be significantly disrupted by the measures needed to respond to a global pandemic. A pandemic is a global occurrence of an infectious disease. A pandemic is a disaster with unique characteristics. The two most important differences between a pandemic and other disasters are that the whole world is going through this disaster at the same time and people may become fearful of other people. The current COVID-19 outbreak clearly has the potential to turn into a severe pandemic. This is a difficult message to share, but it is important to recognize how difficult the times ahead may be.

County Health continues to work with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state and local partners to manage testing and monitoring of persons who have been exposed to COVID-19. But our focus is changing from a containment strategy to one of community mitigation-taking steps to lessen the impact of the disease. County Health and our public and private partners are increasing our ability to respond and are planning for a sustained response to COVID-19. I advise that individuals, schools, business and all other sectors of our community take immediate steps to be prepared. Now is the time for you to prepare.

How the world operates during a pandemic is different from how the world operates normally. This is not business as usual. With a pandemic comes significant disruption to supply chains (the process of how things get from where they are made to where they are used), transportation, and travel. Even if the disease is not spreading in our area, we may face difficulty obtaining the goods and services we are accustomed to, public events may be cancelled, and our ability to travel might be restricted.

San Mateo County Health continues to advise that the steps to prevent the spread of flu will also guard against the spread of COVID-19: cover your cough and sneeze, wash your hands frequently, avoid shaking hands and touching your face with unwashed hands, and if you are not feeling well or are experiencing cold, flu, or other symptoms, contact your primary care provider and stay home from school or work.

Here are the most important things for you to consider to improve your personal and organizational preparedness:

  • What matters most is how households, neighborhoods, community groups, businesses, and other organizations prepare. What does that mean? Preparedness equals self-sufficiency.  Government will help where it can, but it may have a limited ability to respond directly due to the scale of the disruptions. 
  • Individual and community preparations should focus on three tasks-reducing each person's chance of getting sick (see both individual and more general public health recommendations below), helping households with basic survival needs during a pandemic, and minimizing and coping with larger disruptions in how the normal day-to-day world works.
  • All businesses and other organizations should now review their continuity of operations plans for how they will operate if their employees are unable to work and how they will interact with members of the public and prepare to implement these plans soon.
  • All medical facilities and providers should review their surge plans for how to handle increased numbers of patients and be prepared to implement.
  • Getting ready for a pandemic is largely about preparing for possible shortages. In a pandemic, supply chain disruptions are inevitable, but are also unpredictable.
  • Since it contains vital supplies, a good start is to make sure your earthquake kit is up to date and ready to go. Of course, having supplies beyond the typical earthquake kit is a good idea. What you decide to have on hand is based on your individual and family situation.
  • One likely shortage will be medications. You should attempt to obtain a couple of months supply for your critical meds.
  • If you have other critical supply needs, you should conserve them and stock up on them now.
  • Now is also the time to think about how you will care for loved ones at home if they or you are sick and how you would limit spread within the family.
  • Frequent and appropriate hand-washing is far from a perfect solution, but it's easy, under your control, and has no significant downside.
  • Like washing your hands, wearing a surgical mask may help a bit but you need to know that surgical masks don't offer much protection when they are worn by people who are well. They are most helpful when worn by those who are already sick, so that they are less likely to transmit the disease to others. Surgical masks are already in short supply and should be prioritized for use in health care settings.
  • You should use a barrier, such as a paper towel or tissue, to touch commonly touched surfaces, such as bathroom door handles or elevator buttons.

I am not asking for implementation of the activities below at this time, and the implementation of these activities is not imminent, but these are the types of activities we may need to implement in the future:

  • Social distancing-staying at least 6 feet away from all other people and avoiding shaking hands-will be important
  • School closings present a particularly vexing social distancing dilemma but may be necessary to protect public health. These closings may be extensive and extended.
  • Event/mass gathering cancellation
  • Extensive increase in the amount of remote working or teleworking.
  • Under all circumstances, stop touching you face, eyes, nose, or mouth with your unwashed hands.
  • Rationing (a process of prioritizing distribution and use) of critical supplies may need to occur.
  • To get ourselves through the hard times that may be coming, your community may need volunteers. Think now about the skills you have and how can you help your community.
  • Other public health interventions that have been used with some effect in other countries include commandeering of both real estate or personal property, conscription, curfew, and cordons. It is unlikely that these interventions would be used here due to practical considerations.

Scott Morrow, MD, MPH

San Mateo County Health Officer

February 27, 2020