Latest Air Quality Update from Superintendent – Friday, Oct. 13

Update Friday Evening, October 13

Dear Families,

I want you to know that I just sent a message to all principals, teachers and staff to thank them all for their hard work this week under challenging conditions.

We do expect school to be open on Monday, unless the air quality forecast is in the “Very Unhealthy” range. In that case, I will convene my Crisis Management Team on Sunday to make a plan for school closure, and IF we close schools, we will send an email and phone call to all staff and all families about a closure. Otherwise, we will see you on Monday.

Today I went out to schools, along with my Administrative Team, who did their best to offer relief and support at each site. I saw principals, vice principals and counselors holding their communities together, and teachers doing a phenomenal job with delivering an engaging curriculum to kids who were still full of opinions and energy. Meanwhile there were school secretaries fielding many calls, classroom aides focusing on the needs of students, maintenance crew working on air quality issues, and so many staff doing their utmost to support our kids.

I sincerely hope that there will be some rest and relief for all this weekend. Take care of yourselves, family and neighbors, and please send a note or give a hug to someone who’s been helpful to you today.

Donald Evans, Ed.D.

Superintendent.

P.S.  We have received many questions about masks, and saw a variety of masks being used by students. Unfortunately, the kinds of masks that protect from the particulates in the air from wildfire are not designed for children. Here is some of the best advice we’ve seen on this issue:

http://www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov/ResourcesAndLinks/Languages/Documents/English/ENG_ProtectLungsSmoke7208color.pdf

Estimadas Familias,

Deseo que sepan que acabo de enviar un mensaje a todos los directores, maestros y personal docente agradeciendo a todos su por arduo trabajo durante esta semana bajo las condiciones desafiantes.

Contamos con que las escuelas abrirán este próximo lunes, a menos que el pronóstico de la calidad del aire lo presente en el rango de “Muy Nocivo”. En dado caso, el domingo reuniré a mi Equipo Encargado de Enfrentar Crisis y crear un plan para cerrar las escuelas, y SI decidimos cerrar las escuelas, enviaremos un correo electrónico y avisaremos por teléfono a todo el personal docente y a todas las familias referente al cierre. De lo contrario, nos veremos el lunes.

El día de hoy fui a visitar las escuelas, junto con mi Equipo Administrativo, los cuales hicieron todo lo mejor para ofrecer alivio y respaldo en cada plantel. Vi a los directores, sub directores y consejeros manteniendo a sus comunidades unidas, y a los maestros realizando un trabajo fenomenal impartiendo un plan de estudio involucrando a los niños los cuales aún continuaban repletos de opiniones y energía. Mientras tanto hubo secretarias escolares alineando muchas llamadas, ayudantes de instrucción enfocándose en las necesidades de los estudiantes, equipos de mantenimiento trabajando en asuntos relacionados con la calidad del aire, y tanto personal docente haciendo lo primordial para respaldar a nuestros niños.

Yo sinceramente espero que se presente un poco de descanso y alivio para todos este fin de semana. Cuídense ustedes mismos, a su familia y a sus vecinos, y por favor envíe una nota u ofrezca un abrazo a alguien que le ha ayudado a usted el día de hoy.

Donald Evans, Ed.D.

Superintendente

P.D. Hemos recibido muchas preguntas acerca del uso de cubre bocas, y vimos a los estudiantes usando una variedad de las mismas. Desafortunadamente, el tipo de cubre bocas que protege a las personas de las partículas que se encuentran en el aire causadas por el incendio no están diseñadas para niños. He aquí algo de la mejor recomendación que hemos visto en esta edición:

http://www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov/ResourcesAndLinks/Languages/Documents/English/ENG_ProtectLungsSmoke7208color.pdf

 

Update – October 12, 2017 – 5pm

Our district schools will be open tomorrow, Friday, October 13. We have discussed the situation with many parents, students, principals, teachers and staff, and taken into account advice from health and air quality experts. We felt it was important to keep our schools open as centers of learning and community, even when times are tough, and do our best to adjust to the situation as it evolves.

We acknowledge there is no perfect answer – closing the schools may leave students isolated and vulnerable, parents scrambling for childcare, and schedules and learning disrupted. Keeping schools open is also challenging, with students, teachers and staff trying to manage their daily lives under the constraints of the current air quality. We know schools to the north of us are closed and schools to the south are open, and the entire region is struggling with the direct and indirect effects of the disaster.

If students need to stay home for health-related reasons due to the air quality, parents/guardians should call to notify the school of the decision, and absences will be excused for illness. (If students are absent for more than three consecutive days, a medical note may be requested for our records, as per state attendance requirements)

We also want to thank and acknowledge our teachers and staff who have been working under strenuous conditions at times, keeping children’s needs at the forefront, including managing having kids indoors for recess, helping students and stepping in with other staff who may have health challenges, and in many cases they may be managing their own health or personal challenges related to this regional disaster.

We will continue to limit our students’ exposure to the outdoor air as much as possible until the air quality improves. We will update you by noon on Sunday about the decision for Monday. Meanwhile you can also check the district website for updates: www.berkeleyschools.net.

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