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July 10, 2020



I have family abroad whose middle school and high school students went to a modified schedule this spring of block days with small cohorts because of pandemic, and that is expected to continue in the fall. Apparently the kids were pretty good about keeping to the rules on distancing on campus, but after school, forget it -- the high school kids especially once they hit the sidewalk were hugging, kissing, holding hands, sharing water bottles and cigarettes. And who knows if they will be so compliant with school rules come fall after they have had the summer off. It's a lot to ask. And don't get me started on the ventilation issue with buildings with no operable windows...

$4 Million-in-wipes & PPE? -Dr. William MacDougal

"To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Twain

"An average school district—something like 3,600 students, eight buildings and 300-some staff—would need $1.8 million just to meet basic reopening needs, like PPE or deep cleaning"

Do the math. The SMUHSD has six main sites and 9000 students...

Take the schools out of the picture and come up with another answer!

There are almost 1500 students at BHS and over 1000 at BIS alone. Every morning, a SamTrans bus moved students from lower Burlingame to BIS. Every afternoon, these student spill over onto the Ave. As Covid cases in San Mateo County are on the rise, we a planning on pulling these students into confined spaces (busses, classrooms, buildings) every day below they depart to the Ave and beyond.

(Take a look at the today's post in Pandemic Tipping Point?)

Is opening the schools really a smart idea? The Best Idea?

Or is opening the school just the tool we can see in the toolbox?

Burlingame does have an older population who frequents the Ave and many other areas around town.

How will opening the schools impact those most vulnerable?

I’ve heard comments about the people congregating at the “car free” evenings on The Ave and Broadway, but this is different.

We are planning to move the same teenagers in and out of the same busses and buildings every day and expect that the virus won’t follow.

I would be interested to hear how Las Vegas would put odds on this situation in terms of spreading the virus.

It most likely will be the teens who transmit the virus, but the older/elderly who will end up getting sick from the spread.

Comparing the opening of schools to a visit to Home Depot is foolish. The same 2500 people do not trek to Home Depot every day, stay there for seven hours and then return home only to engage in the same process for five days in a row and then repeat after the weekend.

Scare tactic? No.

The teens don’t wear masks and the parents don’t require it or model it for them. Burlingame has been lucky enough to benefit from collective the efforts of SM County, but that could change and we would be back to square one.

The negative impact on students is real, but opening the schools is not the answer. Leaders need innovative outside the box thinking to solve the problem, but all roads seem to lead back to one solution, the schoolhouse door.

We need to get innovative with a solution.
But research shows that students learn better with in person instruction.

Right, that was the old model without masks or distance requirements

Do middle and high school student need supervision?

Every kid with an iPhone has a tracking device attached to them at all times.

Current health standards allow for small groups in a Social Bubble.
If students continued with Distance Education and integrated with the regulated social bubbles to engaged with one another rather than a group of 1000 to 1500?

‘That’s Crazy’: Reopening Schools Is Possible, but We’re Doing It Wrong


Yeah, the School Superintendents Association estimated that an average school district—something like 3,600 students, eight buildings and 300-some staff—would need $1.8 million just to meet basic reopening needs, like PPE or deep cleaning or—

Brown Economics Professor Emily Oster: Hand sanitizer! We’re doing this at universities, and I look at the bills and run some of this stuff at Brown. I look at the money we’re going to spend on disinfecting wipes. And it’s millions of dollars—on wipes! I mean, this is expensive for a highly funded Ivy League university. Forget about it for a rural school.


What is happening in the Millbrae School District.
As a casual observer of Social effects, I would not be surprised if Parents force their children, who are very smart, as well as Socially Savvy, back into School.
BHS students are mostly White.
Millbrae HS students are mostly Asian.
(Dear Joe, the facts are the facts.)
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will BHS Parents keep their children out of school?
Will Millbrae HS Parents keep their children out of School?
I hope someone can correct my facts, if they are indeed incorrect.
Dear Joe, please do not delete my post until you see the facts.

Fugit All

FYI reusable bags will be back at least at Trader Joe's, beginning next week, I believe.

concerned citizen

Does anybody actually look at the numbers and compare the deaths to the ruinous financial and societal cost of fighting this?

A week ago I concern trolled this forum, stating how worried I was about the deadly virus, and Joe, bless his heart (that is sincere) pointed me to the county covid page. At that time, one week ago, there were a total of 108 covid deaths with by far most of them in the elderly population. Today a week later there are 112. 4 people in the whole county died of covid-19 last week.

We could debate whether there are reasons to be worried about this novel corona virus, but I really can't see the argument for completely and maybe permanently destroying the economy and culture --- basically everything --- to avoid catching this disease. Some of us will get it and die and some will get it and not even know it. And a whole range of us will be in between.

Even if you think this is an exceptionally bad disease it is hard to rationalize destroying everything so as to save mostly old people, of which I am one (70). Better to work on ways to treat the disease than trying to hide from it.

The HepCat

Wait. The schools need $1.8 million for PPE and sanitizer. I think I know where to find it.



I am hoping that you posted a T&C comment.
Nevertheless, if PPE cost 10 Million a week; to protect Educators, Teachers, Custodians, Administrators and anyone that has contact with Students during an Eight Hour day,
1. Must be Koo Koo.
2.Care about the future.
Before Public School, there was no School.
Only "The Bible."
Lets not go there ever again.


On some bender tonight. Hope you don't end up in the ER.


Burlingame children go feral around age 11; start climbing out bedroom windows at night, forage through Mills Canyon, splunk into Hillsborough drainage conduits.

If you see their behavior now; mask-less, in close groups, sharing phones and hugs they are already Petri dishes for the spreading virus.

By the time school starts one wonders how much more the virus could spread beyond what is occurring presently.

PPE-Supply Chain-$$$ Dr. William Mac Dougal

When the schools open that become "cruise ships" full of virus hosts passing it to others and then on to homes.

News today- PPE Supply Chain will face fierce competition as production is already tight and schools and colleges are entering the market against the Hospitals and others already in the market.

School opening cost are increasing


Notice how the narrative changed from “We need to flatten the curve to have enough hospital beds,” to “No one can ever get sick again.”

What can parents do to get back to work? How about “Family Lives Matters” painted in front of the CTA Palace on Murchison?

Barking Dog

Prop 15 campaign ads the CTA will be running continuously coming up shortly will be entertaining to watch.

Curious to the number of students transferring from the SMUHSD to a private schools with in person teaching being provided? In and out of county and state. Guess is that number is going up hourly.

Dr. William Mac Dougal

Cassandra and BD - Irony- The CTA Official statement is to support the SAFE opening of school-100%.


The SMUHSD is a Basic Aid District and it gets 100% of its funding no matter where the students attend school.

Since these facts are true... what could be wrong?

Are the SMUHSD schools safe? If they were, the schools would open... right?

Why has there been not public statement regarding the safety of the schools?

The teachers are the easy scapegoat, but they actually support the SAFE opening of schools.

So who is failing to tell the truth?

Students leave the SMUSHD all the time.. then the economy crashes and they return.

You only get private school service when you pay private school tuition.

The SMUHSD only benefits by students leaving for private schools. It just leaves more money for those who stay....


So, this lawyerly tidbit from the CTA-
According to the legislature, section 34 of SB 98 intends to provide districts with flexibility in the manner in which K-12 instruction is provided to meet the needs of students, families, and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is the intent of the legislature that districts offer in-person instruction in 2020-21 to the greatest extent possible, and the bill refers to the need to consult and collaborate with state or local public health officials in determining whether to offer distance learning, this section is not intended to require any district to seek out or receive approval from a state or local public health officer prior to adopting a distance learning model. This section is also not intended to prevent a district from adopting a distance learning, hybrid, or mixed-delivery instructional model to ensure safety.

Then, why not have a meeting on the BHS lawn with the teachers and decide how to open the schools this fall? As former Secretary of Education William Bennett notes, “You can do this.”


Private schools have to follow public health orders too, don't they?

Barking Dog

From the outside looking in, seems there should've and could've been lots more collaboration between SMUHD & CTA to ensure the kids had some sort of on campus learning in the fall of 2020, as Cassandra suggests. Didn't happen.

HMB, unless I'm missing something from what I read in the public health orders, where does it say in SAN Mateo County the order to close schools. Again, I might have missed that. Fauchi, Morrow and numerous other physicians/pediatricians repeatedly have said the kids need to get back in the classroom.


Yes, public health officials say kids need to get back in the classroom, but with social distancing, masks, etc. It won't be back in the classroom as normal.

Barking Dog

I agree it won't be a classroom as normal, that's ok, the kids are at least in the classroom.
SMUHSD and CTA ignored the concerns of an all distance learning approach from the majority of parents, students and public health officials. Very disappointing, but not surprising.

Dr. William Mac Dougal

Cassandra and BD..

The next few statements should have you asking more questions....

All decision regarding the opening of the schools and delivery of instruction comes from the Board.

The Board ONLY takes information from the district Administration, not the teachers. (protocol)

"Then, why not have a meeting on the BHS lawn with the teachers and decide how to open the schools this fall?"

Good Question

Answer: The SMUHSD Administration won't talk to the teachers. In fact, they have blocked the teachers out of any decision making discussions.

"SMUHSD and CTA ignored the concerns of an all distance learning approach from the majority of parents, students and public health officials."

CTA has no jurisdiction in the decision of how instruction is delivered- Zero.

Multiple teachers have stated that they want to return to the classroom, local CTA supports the wishes of these teachers. SMUHSD refused to talk to the teachers.


The teachers are an easy scapegoat. The BHS parents were very vocal, but may not have been a majority. After the June 11 Board meeting, the BHS parents targeted the teachers an placed blame upon them for the Distance Learning Plan... but that plan was not created by the Local CTA.

The SMUHSD Administration has been in control of the process since Day 1. The in-person re-opening plan they developed for the June 11 meeting was a failure and the Administration themselves pulled it just hours before the meeting.

The schools were going to open in a face to face situation, but the local Admin botched the process and it was the parents from other schools who started the revolt... not the teachers.

The ongoing battle of blame from the BHS parents towards the teachers is just another element of deflection so that they BHS parents won't find the real culprits who botched the entire situation.

It should start to become clear that the district administration doesn't really care about what the BHS parents have to say about their own school.

BHS parents get lip-service, and then the district ignores the will and desires of the parents.

Look beyond the distractions and get to the truth. If you shake up the Board, you will find out what "shakes out" when you shake up the administration.

Barking Dog

Dr WMD- fully agree the board of trustees needs a major overhaul of the decision makers. Especially the Burlingame residents on the board. And that can only happen at the ballot box.

If a majority if the teachers as you state wanted to get back in the classroom as you state, why wouldn't CTA listen to the majority of teachers, and work hard for them to get them back in the classroom as the want?

Trying to dismiss the CTA role in the students not being back in the classroom at some level is a little misdirected Dr. WMD.

SMUHSD Trustees, SMUHSD Administrators and the CTA are all responsible for kids. All 3 parties failed to put the kids 1st to get them back in the classroom in the fall.

Dr. William Mac Dougal


If the teachers were at fault here, I'd slam them. They can't be at fault because they have been blocked from the process.

The BV has always been a place where negligence of public leadership can be disclosed.

According to the video below of the June 11 Board Meeting, the teachers are the ONLY group who put forward a return to school plan.

The district Administration eliminated their plan and came forward with nothing.

The teachers are the "shiny object" being dangled in front of the public so that the people don't see what is really taking place.

Process- CTA (local) has NO jurisdiction on the operations of the school. None.

CTA is a labor organization that negotiates employment conditions.

The reports that the local CTA refuses to go back in the classroom is 100% false.

This is not to pick a fight, but a correction in purpose

"SMUHSD Trustees, SMUHSD Administrators and the CTA are all responsible for kids."

The Board is elected by the citizens. The Administration is hired/fired by the Board and directed to run the the schools. The teachers are rank and file employees. with no more jurisdiction than a mail carrier. The third leg of responsibility is the Parents and Community.

CTA is the easy target, but in this case the wrong one. The Board and Administration have had this issue since the school shut down and have shut out the teachers from the process. (Fact check if you wish)

This leave only the Board and the Administration in the decision making process.

The CTA is a state organization and each school district has its own organization.

I did not state that a majority of teachers wanted to return, 1/3 indicated in an early survey they could return and many spoke to the issue during the Board Meeting.

"Put the kids 1st and get them back in the classroom for the fall."

A good point- Why did the Board and the Admin fail to do this?

What if the schools and classrooms are not safe for the teachers and the students? The standards to open the schools were set by the state (no the teachers) and the levels of air filtration, PPE, etc are published.

A review of the efforts of the Administration do not show any effort to fully open the schools, only bring students on campus in "outdoor meeting areas."

The June 11 presentation to the Board for a return to the classroom WAS produced by teachers-- NOT the SMUHSD Administration.


Why isn't the Board holding someone responsible for this debacle?

That is the question you should be asking...

This isn't the first time.

This is exactly the type of thing that happens in Springfield

Barking Dog

Dr WMD - your opinion/insight/knowledge of the SMUHSD is unquestioned. I respect and value your opinion when speak.
I'm not saying at all what your stating isn't true or that I don't agree with your facts.
I feel the SMUHSD Trustees/Admin & CTA are equally responsible for the kids not at least having a hybrid schedule. Inexcusable.

Barking Dog


Looks like SMC is next


Here’s the deal: Forget kids in school for a year.

Put them in buses from the Rec. Center and take them to work-projects: canning tomatoes in King City, fixing potholes on 101, picking up ciggie butts at Ocean Beach, watching for people not wearing masks. It would be a real-world introduction to real work.

While the kids work, their parents can get the economy going again.

Home together for dinner.

And, don’t pay teachers for the year they aren’t teaching..

Superintendent Gary Chalmers

Those at home keeping score know that there has been a series of unscrupulous events taking place at the SMUHSD.

The information flowing from the administration to the Board has been challenging as the terms “truthful” and “ethical” are being stretched. The Good Ol Boys League could face some challenges as information continues to leak out.

The Palo Alto School District just settled (yet another) legal case for continued violations of the Public Records Act. The SMUHSD has simply stopped producing Public Record Requests as it is the most effective way of keeping a lid on the disaster at 650 North Delaware. The incompetence and negligence continue, and the tax payers dollars flow like a faucet.


The recent move to Zoom Board meeting has required the district to post their meeting on YouTube… along with their dirty laundry. During the July 14, 2020 meeting which was scheduled at 1:00 p.m. Board Members stated (out loud) that they did not want to schedule future “evening” meetings because they went too far into the night. Representation in a troubling time?

There is a strong probability that there will not be an election in November for the open Board seats as the public has been complacent in the acts of the district. There are only two candidates for the two open seats. Lees Dwyer and Friedman have made some efforts to hold the culprits in check, but have not had success. Land needs to step up and help clean house to become a part on the new leadership that does not use a rubber stamp.

The one new candidate may be able to make a difference.

The SMUHSD is about to become excessively wealthy with tax donations. The revenue from the bonds and the sale of the former Crestmoor site could make anyone into a drunken monkey.

How can we trust the current administration with so much money? ($$$$)

It’s not the failure to reopen the schools that will “shock the conscience,” but the level of incompetence that has been allowed to transpire under the noses of a few members of the well paid leadership who use the district legal counsel as a personal attorney.

How about a Public Record statement of the SMUHSD's legal expenses (compare past to present)

The day after June 11, 2020 meeting a moment was unintentionally created by the lies that were told.

During the Administrative presentation on June 11, 2020, Deputy Superintendent Kirk Black made substantial comments to the Board and the public that he knew (at the time )were not true.

The SMUHSD had no intention of opening the schools as Dr. Black and Dr. Skelly had failed to produce a plan for this purpose. The meeting of the re-opening committee failed and their progress was scrapped.

If the committee failed, then why did they come before the Board and act as if they were successful.

They failed, but were willing to mislead the public that they were still in charge

Why did they lie? You can start at 1:31:00 mark on the video link below and move forward.

Any comment about the chance or possibility to reopen schools was a known lie.

The decision to keep the schools closed had already been made and concealed from and the Board and the public.


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