Superintendent Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates (January-April 2020)

As critical partners in our success and given the rising concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (now named COVID-19), we are sharing the following updates.


April 30, 2020

Dear San Carlos Community,


Yesterday, seven Bay Area Health Officers issued a new shelter in place order, which takes effect on Monday, May 4. Here is the press release that summarizes the order. Here is a link to the order itself, which extends our shelter in place through May 31 and allows the resumption of construction, some businesses that primarily operate outdoors, and some outdoor activities/facilities under specific conditions. Note that San Mateo's order restricts recreational activity to within 10 miles of your residence. Face coverings are still generally required, including open space trails for those aged 13 and above.

Michelle Harmeier


Most Recent Superintendent COVID-19 Updates

April 7, 2020

In this Update:

  • Updated Guidance About School Closures and Distance Learning
  • Budget Update
  • Preparation for Budget Cuts
  • Emergency Childcare Survey - Essential Workforce


Dear SCSD Community,

I hope that you are doing well under these unprecedented circumstances. Every day seems to bring us new information. Some of it brings certainty, and some brings us more uncertainty. As always, we are committed to sharing this information with you as it becomes known to us, even when this news is not what we were hoping for. 

Updated Guidance About School Closures and Distance Learning

Under the latest direction from our County Superintendent Nancy McGee, in collaboration with San Mateo County Public Health, we can share with you that it is now certain that our students will not be able to return to classrooms this school year. To say this is heartbreaking for our staff and students is an understatement. The health and safety of our community is of utmost importance at this time, and this is a decision that was not taken lightly. We are committed to supporting our students, teachers, and staff with all the tools we have at our disposal so that learning and growth will continue for the remainder of the year, and we will continue to stay in communication with you about what that looks like. 

Budget Update

Now more than ever, we are incredibly grateful to our community for their support as we can officially announce the passage of Measure N parcel tax! The timing to secure this funding stream was incredibly important, as we can now count on it to contribute about $3 million annually over the next 8 years to our budget - one of the few bright spots in our economic forecast.

The full economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis is uncertain, but we already know that it is having a significant and serious impact on the funding streams that support revenues for our schools, city, and state.   

Here in SCSD, we are already acutely feeling the impact of COVID-19-related reduction in revenue from our afterschool, preschool, and facility rental programs, as well as uncertainty over other outside funding streams. I shared with the Board at the last meeting that this could well total $2.6 Million in lost revenue over 2 years. We are also anticipating that the State will be reducing their school funding when the Governor releases his May revised budget. 

These are serious and drastic scenarios that we need to be prepared for as a district. The work that we started months ago with the Budget Advisory Committee is taking on a new and pressing importance as we prepare for these difficult conversations.

We are continuing to meet with our Budget Advisory Committee monthly to share information, discuss solutions, and listen. The next meeting is Thursday, April 9 at 3:45 pm. Budget information will be on every school board meeting agenda for the remainder of the year. You can see the schedule, agendas, and video recordings of the meetings on the Board Meeting webpage here.

Preparation for Budget Cuts 

With the uncertainty of our funding levels next year, we must take some actions now to prepare for the decisions that will lead to our final budget.

While no decisions have been made yet about any potential reductions, the only way we can preserve options that could involve classified staff is to notify affected employees by April 30 of potential layoffs. This is a difficult move and we realize it will understandably create a lot of stress and worry, and for that, we are deeply, deeply sorry. Our affected colleagues are not just employees, but valuable and cherished professionals that we care about in our learning community. Sadly, this is an unavoidable action given the current economic uncertainty and timeline constraints of the noticing process. Let me be clear in saying that we did not anticipate having to make any layoffs next school year until COVID-19 struck. We are even more grateful for the renewed parcel tax, which is preventing us from needing to make deeper cuts than what we are facing.

This group includes paraprofessionals, instructional assistants, custodians, maintenance staff, secretaries, librarians, managers, and other classified staff. The school board will take action to notify employees potentially impacted by layoffs during the April 16 board meeting. 

Our certificated staff (teachers, counselors, nurses, administrators) layoff notification period expired March 15 so we are not able to plan reductions in these staffing areas at this time unless the state changes the timeline to accommodate districts in financial stress. We will look for reductions by postponing filling vacant positions when possible knowing we will have some anticipated resignations and retirements by June.

This is already an incredibly difficult time for all of us, so I know that hearing about layoffs and budget challenges only adds to the stress you are experiencing. While I deeply wish that this is not the news I had to share, I am committed to keeping you informed. 

Emergency Childcare Survey - Essential Workforce

Many parents in our community are essential workers, and we want to connect you with organizations that are providing emergency childcare if that is a need you have. The Childcare Coordinating Council (4Cs) is centralizing the planning and sharing out of these resources. Please complete this short, 8-question online survey to be connected to 4Cs’ child care resource and referral staff who will help you find emergency child care. You may receive this survey more than once. Please complete one per family.

Link to the Survey:

For definitions of the essential workforce for each sector, please refer to the State Public Health Officer's designated list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.” 

For questions about this survey or emergency child care for essential workers, please email

Once again, please know how much we appreciate your support, particularly in these increasingly difficult times. Please stay home and stay safe.

Michelle Harmeier

In this Update:

  • What is Most Important Right Now?
  • SCSD Distance Learning Update
  • Updated Guidance from the County Health Officer
  • Gratitude for our Teachers and Staff

April 5, 2020

Dear SCSD Community,

Well, our “spring break” is over and like me, you probably just stayed home and managed this new way of living at home all day, every day. I hope you enjoyed the break from Distance Learning for the week. While most of us are healthy right now, I am learning about friends and family members that are getting sick, some of us have lost people close to us, and many of us are struggling with fear, anxiety, financial challenges, and an uncertain future. With this in mind, I want to share this graphic that provides a way to look at our needs and priorities around school during this crisis. 

Hierarchy of Needs for Schools Image

Updated Guidance from the County Health Officer

The Health Officer issued a new order on March 31 and provided updated guidance on April 2. It is now recommended to wear a face covering to protect yourself in others if you must go out into public.  


  1. Stay in Place (Do not interact with other family units)
  2. Wash Hands Frequently (Even at home)
  3. Avoid Touching your face (Eyes, nose, mouth)
  4. Maintain Your Space (6 feet apart)
  5. Cover Your Face (When you have to leave the home)

Distance Learning Update

Our teachers will be engaging in professional learning around distance learning for the next two days. This will allow teachers to expand their skills with distance learning and provide them with much needed collaboration time with colleagues to support your students with the extension of shelter in place through at least May 4. Please note that teachers are providing assignments on Monday and Tuesday for students to engage in.

As we continue to serve your children in these unprecedented times, I back on March 13, the last day SCSD teachers had interactions with their students. Staff launched Distance Learning after just two days of planning and preparation- weeks before many school districts began providing any resources or guidance to their families. It is our desire to continue to provide families with high levels of instruction, and we know we can count on our community to support staff in this challenging endeavor.

Gratitude To Our Teachers, Principals, and Staff

I am incredibly proud of the immediate response and dedication of our teachers, staff  and principals. I have had the honor to help educate thousands of students during my career, and to support hundreds of teachers, principals and staff. I know that every student and parent is in a different place when it comes to their ability to adjust to this new distance learning approach. There are challenges some families are having that others will not have to endure. I also know that every teacher and staff member is in a different place as they continue to serve our students. They manage their own children, families, and personal and professional responsibilities.  

As I read in an article recently, this is “crisis schooling” not home schooling- we cannot expect parents to become educators overnight, and we cannot replicate the learning experiences our students have in our normal school setting. So, please do not be hard on yourself as a parent, be patient with your children, and know that we appreciate your ongoing gratitude, empathy, and patience for our teachers, staff, principals. We are all dedicated to serving your children through this crisis.

Once again, please know how much we appreciate your support. Please stay home and stay safe.

Michelle Harmeier


In this Update:

  • County stay at home order extended to May 3
  • State expectations unclear for remainder of school year
  • SCSD distance learning update
  • Parcel Tax Election Results


April 1, 2020

Dear SCSD Community,

I hope you are coping the best you can with the challenges we are all facing right now! Please enjoy this break from distance learning since we may be managing this for the long term. The situation is literally changing every day (and sometimes by the hour) and I am doing my very best to keep you up to date with the latest information.

County Stay at Home Order

As you know, San Mateo County, along with six other Bay Area jurisdictions extended its stay at home order to May 3 for all residents and businesses. The two-page press release is here, and the full order, which specifies essential activity, can be found here.

State Expectations Unclear for This School Year 2019-2020

At noon today, Governor Newsom held a press conference stating his expectation that California's public schools may not reopen to students for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, which is June 11 for SCSD. Though some media is reporting otherwise, this is not a formal executive order. Regardless, we continue to plan and prepare for the continuation of distance learning indefinitely, and possibly through the end of this school year. Our hope is that we can return to our school sites before summer to resume learning in the classroom and celebrate the end of the year together.  However, we will wait for orders from our partners in public health or other executive order with which we must comply. You can read San Mateo County Superintendent, Nancy Magee’s latest statement here.

Distance Learning Update -Thought Exchange

Thank you for participating in the Thought Exchange activity! Over 500 people participated. Your thoughts will be shared with our leaders this week so they can consider parent and student needs into the professional development time our teachers will participate in next Monday and Tuesday.  

  • The top thoughts centered around using videoconferencing platforms for more teacher/student engagement for both academic instruction and social interaction between students. 
  • This exchange showed me how important it is to address the social-emotional well-being of our students as well as the academic learning as we work and learn from home. 
  • We are all learning to use these video conferencing tools more effectively and will continue to enhance daily instruction and continue to nurture relationships with our students. Teacher learning and support will be ongoing while we are learning at home.  
  • If you are having serious challenges with your student engaging in learning, feeling overwhelmed, or you need support, please contact your child’s principal and/or counselor. You can also visit our Resources and Support page on our Distance Learning Portal. 

Measure N - Parcel Tax Election Results 

According to the San Mateo County elections website, the March 3 election results were to be certified by today, April 1. We needed a supermajority of 66.6% passage rate and the site shows we have 71.83 %. We are considering these numbers a solid win, but we have not received official notice of the certification, likely due to the COVID-19 challenges. We will share the official news with you as soon as we learn more. 

On behalf of the San Carlos School District, I want to thank you for your support of this Measure. We greatly appreciate the communities’ support of our students and this investment in their future. We extend a special thank you to the volunteers, campaign contributors, parents, staff, and community members for their endorsement and support of Measure N.

Please stay home and stay safe,
Michelle Harmeier

In this Update:

  • Gratitude for our Teachers and Staff
  • Distance Learning Update: April 6-7 Teacher Planning and Learning Days
  • Thought Exchange - Parent Input about Distance Learning
  • Support for Families and Individuals
  • SMARTE Online Clubhouse & Virtual Preschool Programs Starts April 6

March 27, 2020


Dear SCSD Community,


We made it to spring break! Please join me in thanking our incredible teachers, principals, and staff members who worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to completely shift from a school-based classroom approach to teaching to an at-home learning approach almost overnight! Yes, this has been a challenge for ALL of us; parents of SCSD students and our own staff who are parents, and all of us whether we have kids at home or not. We know we cannot replicate the school experience our kids have enjoyed up until now, but be assured that our students are still learning and growing. Everyone’s 21st Century skills are improving in this new virtual and online approach to communicating and learning! During this spring break, be kind to yourselves, take a break from the enormous amount of screen time you must be experiencing and enjoy time as a family. Please continue to stay home, practice social distancing and stay safe.


Distance Learning Update

Given the extension of distance learning through at least May 1, 2020, our teachers and staff have expressed the need for time to learn and plan together to enhance their at-home learning approach. Therefore, when school resumes Monday, April 6, students will continue their at-home learning, and our teachers will be learning together on both April 6th and 7th. Our staff will be engaged with learning activities designed to support the academic and social needs of our students. Assignments will be provided to students for those two days; however, teachers will be unavailable for emails or other connections.  


Thought Exchange Opportunity for Parents/Guardians

Our students have now been learning at home for two weeks. What have we learned together? Please participate in this exchange to share what is working well and what can be improved. 


We’re smarter and better together. With that in mind, I am asking you for five minutes today and another five minutes tomorrow to help us plan for this new way of learning.


Please share your thoughts and questions. Please also come back to this link sometime tomorrow and Star (rate) the thoughts shared by others.


We want to hear your thoughts on what we can do and what we need to consider as we make decisions to support our students learning at home. We’re sure many of you have questions and ideas that you want to share, and we want to make sure we’re hearing what everyone has to say.


Start participating in this Thought Exchange by clicking here:


If you have never participated in a Thought Exchange activity, watch this short video to better understand this community engagement tool!


Family Support

Our PTA Coordinating Council, San Carlos community and the San Mateo County region are responding to the needs of families and individuals who need assistance in these areas:

  • Lunches
  • Basic Needs 
  • Mental Health Counseling 
  • Mental Health Resources 
  • Behavior Tips and Tricks from our School Psychologists


Please visit our Support and Resources page on our Distance Learning Portal or reach out to our Director of Wellness, Mindy Hill at if you have questions or need support.

Preschool and SMARTE After School Virtual Programs Begins April 6
Our district preschool and SMARTE after school programs are moving into a virtual program online starting April 6! As your partner in learning, we are inviting all families in the District to participate in our remote, online programs to keep our students learning and engaged while you are co-working during the day. 

SMARTE Virtual Clubhouse
Students will have real-time interaction with our staff via Zoom. We took our most popular activities and created a fun, engaging schedule that includes STEAM activities, music, play, movement, yoga/meditation, read alouds, and social interactions with friends for up to 3 hours per day. Your child can choose to join us from 10:00am-1:00pm or 3:00-6:00pm - we will be repeating the programming twice per day, students can join us for either block of time. The reduced cost is $300/month, per child.

If you are a current SMARTE family, you will be receiving an email with more details. If you are currently not part of the SMARTE afterschool program and are interested in signing up during this at-home learning time, please email the SMARTE office and visit our SMARTE website for more information.

Virtual Preschool
Our preschool program is moving into a virtual Zoom preschool classroom as well. Children will be able to have real-time interaction with their teachers. We will resume our calendar and weather time, do projects together, sing songs, read books, dance and play. Starting Monday, April 6, we will offer five hours of learning, play and teacher interaction each day. As you know, we have multiple teachers per classroom, so the team of teachers will be engaging with students/parents virtually from 8:30am-10:30am; 11:30am-12:30pm; and 2:00pm-4:00pm. The reduced cost is $600/month. If you are interested in joining a virtual preschool classroom, contact Sue Dawley at

Please stay home and stay safe,

Michelle Harmeier




March 25, 2020


In this Update:

  • At-home learning extended to at least May 1
  • Family Support
  • SMARTE Online Clubhouse & Virtual Preschool Programs Start April 6
  • State Testing Suspended 


Dear SCSD Community,


Today we learned from the San Mateo County Office of Education that the closure of schools in the Bay Area is extended through May 1. This coordinated decision was made with the health and safety of all Bay Area residents in mind, and extends the previous school modification order that began on March 16. The following excerpt from the San Mateo County Superintendent’s press release summarizes the situation well:


With the support and collaboration of the Public Health Officers in the respective counties, the County Superintendents of Schools recognized the need to extend the period of school closures and student dismissals through May 1, 2020. School facilities may remain open to staff for the purposes of performing tasks deemed essential by the school district and county offices of education. Education will continue through flexible learning, meals will continue to be provided and, where possible, childcare may be arranged.

During this time, residents are expected to adhere to the “Shelter in Place” Orders issued by the Public Health Officer on March 16 and stay home except for essential activities until further notification from their local health department.

  • Washing hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Staying home if you are feeling sick
  • Contacting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. 
  • Engage in regular exercise or physical activity


Family Support

We know this extended order will cause hardships on many who are being impacted financially. Our PTA is rolling out a support effort to collect gift cards and distribute those gifts to those in need. We will be sharing their information on the SCSD Distance Learning Portal in the next 48 hours. Look for a new SUPPORT button on the homepage. The San Mateo County Office of Education has a Resource page for families as well. We are already seeing the many ways the generosity of our San Carlos community is coalescing (virtually) to connect with families in need, and we thank you for that.

SMARTE Online Clubhouse for TK-3rd Grade Students Begins April 6
Our SMARTE preschool and afterschool programs are moving into a virtual program online starting April 6! As your partner in learning, we have designed a remote, online program to keep our students learning and engaged while you are co-working during the day.

Students will have real-time interaction with our staff via Zoom. We took our most popular activities and created a fun, engaging schedule that includes STEAM activities, music, play, movement, yoga/meditation, read alouds, and social interactions with friends for up to 3 hours per day. Your child can choose to join us from 10:00am-1:00pm or 3:00-6:00pm - we will be repeating the programming twice per day, students can join us for either block of time. The reduced cost is $300/month, per child.

If you are a current SMARTE family, you will be receiving an email with more details. If you are currently not part of the SMARTE afterschool program and are interested in signing up during this at-home learning time, please email the SMARTE office at and visit our SMARTE website for more information.

Virtual Preschool Begins April 6
Our preschool program is moving into a virtual Zoom preschool classroom as well. Children will be able to have real-time interaction with their teachers. We will resume our calendar and weather time, do projects together, sing songs, read books, dance and play. Starting Monday, April 6, we will offer five hours of learning, play and teacher interaction each day. As you know, we have multiple teachers per classroom, so the team of teachers will be engaging with students/parents virtually from:  8:30am-10:30am; 11:30am-12:30pm; and 2:00pm-4:00pm. The reduced cost is $600/month. If you are interested in joining a virtual preschool classroom, contact Sue Dawley at


State Testing Suspended

As per Governor Newsom’s Executive Order last week, all California State testing has been suspended for this school year, including the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC) in Language Arts and Mathematics, the California Alternative Assessments (CAA), and the Summative English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC).  State Board of Education President Linda Darling Hammond stated: “As schools are struggling to maintain instruction, and feed students, they need to focus first and foremost on these pressing responsibilities. The safety and well-being of children and staff has to be our No. 1 concern. We do not want concerns about testing to distract them from their critical work at this time of national emergency.”


Thank You

Lastly, we want to acknowledge how challenging it is for our students, staff, and families to work and learn from home. Thank you for all you are doing to support your children with their learning by collaborating with teachers as they continue to enhance our distance learning plan. We will continue to leverage all the tools, teacher expertise, and technology available to us to engage not only in high-quality learning, but also in strengthening the human connection our students and all of us need at this time.


Please stay home and stay safe,

Michelle Harmeier


March 24, 2020

Dear SCSD Community,

The County Health Officer posted another statement yesterday, March 23. I suggest you read it. Dr. Morrow strongly encourages community members to stay in their homes with your own family unit, stay in your own neighborhood, and vigilantly minimize person-to-person contact outside of the home. The statement also encourages volunteering and donating to help address the hardships caused by the coronavirus outbreak.  

Many of you have shared with me that you are observing students and young adults playing basketball on our campuses, playing on the play structures, and seeing school-age children playing with their friends and not practicing social distancing. This is very concerning to me and I ask that everyone do their part to minimize the spread or the virus. This graphic shows the math behind social distancing. Our parents and community members are asking me to strongly encourage parents to follow the orders to stay at home when possible and to prevent children and young adults from socializing and playing with people outside of their own family unit during this crisis.

Thank you for doing what you can,
Michelle Harmeier

Social Distancing Image


March 22, 2020


Dear SCSD Community,


Last week was one of the most challenging weeks in my 27 years as an educator! Our students, parents, community and State responded to the shelter in place orders and encountered and overcame challenges that impacted our daily routines and priorities in just a few days. I am extremely proud of our teachers and staff for their dedication, caring, and professionalism they have demonstrated in supporting our students and families!


We are now preparing for week two of at-home learning and will continue to create routines, adjust workloads and pacing, and stay connected with our students as we all learn together in our new Distance Learning Plan approach. Remember, Spring Break is the following week, March 30- April 3 and we can all step away from the rigor of daily instruction and enjoy some unstructured time.


I will continue to communicate important updates to you as they occur. Please read this most recent update for valuable information on:

  • State Order to Shelter in Place
  • Fitness & Wellness and Counseling Support Websites Ready
  • Board Meetings

State Order to Shelter in Place

Governor Newson announced the shelter in place order for the State of California last week so we are all in this together now. Our County order lasts until April 7 and the California Executive Order N-33-20 to Safer at Home, shelter in place, signed by Governor Newsom stays in effect until further notice. I have no further information about the duration at this time.  Please continue to follow the safety guidelines of social distancing by avoiding getting together in person with friends and family members outside of your home until orders change. Please remind students to avoid visiting our campus and playgrounds during this time as well. 

Fitness & Wellness and Counseling Support

Our staff launched their Distance Learning webpages and we encourage you to visit them so you know what kinds of resources are available to you from home. Visit the Counselor's Corner where you can schedule an online appointment and access other resources for social and emotional well-being. Visit the Fitness and Wellness page to get great activities and access to our Legarza PE lessons for the week.


Virtual School Board Meetings 

Our school board meetings are moving to virtual meetings due to the shelter in place order. We had a Special Board Meeting on Thursday, March 19 to provide time for the Board to discuss the district’s response to COVID-19 and the shelter in place orders. The meeting was recorded and can be viewed from our School Board Meeting website. We realize that some people were not able to view the meeting on the livestream through Google Hangout Meet since access was only through our SCSDK8 domain.  We will use Zoom for our next meeting so that it can be publicly viewed. The next Regular Board Meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, March 26 with the agenda posting on our website tomorrow, March 23 by 5:00 pm. There is a special Study Session from 5:30-6:30 pm to discuss budget items and the Regular Board meeting begins at 7:00 pm.  

Your teachers and principals can help you with most questions and support, and if there is something I can help you with please let me know.

Please stay healthy,

Michelle Harmeier


March 18, 2020


Dear SCSD Community,


Thank you for staying connected and supporting your children and our staff during this shift in learning. I will continue to communicate important updates to you as they occur. Please read this most recent update for valuable information on:

  • Day 1 of Distance Learning
  • Attendance Procedure
  • Special Board Meeting-Virtual- Tomorrow Night March 19, 2020, 6:00 pm

Day 1 of Distance Learning

We thank you for your patience and flexibility as we continue to work on creating an engaging, interactive, distance learning experience for your child(ren) while managing our business-side of the district as well. Please visit our Distance Learning Website!  We created a site that is friendly for parents, teachers, and students to access. On this site, you will find resources and daily study plans for your child(ren).

Last week, San Mateo County, all 23 school districts, committed to supporting our students’ learning when we began hearing about the possibility of school closures and I am incredibly proud of our teachers, principals and all staff for dedicating countless hours to making this shift with so little time. We are all learning a lot and we're excited to hear about many successes after Day 1!

Principals and staff are checking in with each other via video conference and Principals are hearing wonderful stories about how technology has been working to connect classrooms and keep a sense of community at this time. We are all feeling a sense of loss at not getting together in person with our students and colleagues and are hopeful that our SCSD Distance Learning Portal can keep us connected.

Attendance Procedures

Please continue to log in each day by 9:00 am to your child’s school’s attendance form.  This helps us see who is engaged and working on distance learning plans. Each school has its own attendance form and it is located on the school pages on the Distance Learning Portal.

Special Board Meeting Tomorrow Night

**VIRTUAL BOARD MEETING** Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 6:00 pm

In light of the current Public Health Emergency, and in accordance with current guidelines from the State, the Board will hold its March 19 meeting by teleconference.

Here is the Google Hangouts Meet link for the Board’s March 19 Special Meeting, which will allow you to live stream the meeting. Here is the link to the agenda.

Public comment will be accepted during the meeting via the email address: Please be sure to include your first and last name in the email.  

The virtual meeting will be recorded, the video of which will be posted on the SCSD website within 24 hours of the meeting’s conclusion.

Here is the full address of the virtual meeting in case you have problems with the link above:

We thank you for your support and patience with our first virtual board meeting.

Please stay healthy,

Michelle Harmeier


March 17, 2020


Dear SCSD Community,

We hope you are staying safe and healthy at home. We are continuing to communicate important updates to you as they occur. Please read this most recent update for valuable information on:

  • COVID-19 Cases
  • Closed Campuses
  • Launching Distance Learning
  • Spring Break
  • Distance Learning Plan
  • Technology and Device Support
  • Food Services


COVID-19 Cases
As a follow up to our email last week about a student at Arroyo being a contact of a someone who is a confirmed case of COVID, and in the interest of full transparency with our school community, we now have information that students at multiple other sites are also contacts of people who are confirmed cases, and there is at least one student case that we aware of at this time.


With that being said, because we can assume that more cases will be identified in coming days, we urge you to take precautions recommended by the CDC to limit your risk and spread of the virusand to also strictly abide by yesterday's Shelter-in-Place order.

Social isolation is the most important measure we can all take at this time to help level the curve and protect our own San Carlos community. CDC Recommendations include:

  • Frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Always cover your cough or sneeze
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects in your home
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

Because we expect that many more cases connected with our school community will come to light this week, we will not be communicating new cases to you. We urge you to act as if all sites have a contact of a known case and take measures accordingly.

Please continue to honor the privacy of our students and families. Many people are, and will continue to be, affected directly by this, and we as a community hold compassion for everyone during this challenging time.


Closed Campuses
During this period, please remind your children that our campuses, including play areas, are closed to students and the public. Principals and the District staff members are available to support students and parents through email and phone with limited access to facilities.  


Spring Break
Remember March 30-April 3 is our regularly scheduled spring break and we will not be providing an education program for that week. 


Launching Distance Learning 
As we all comply with the shelter in place directive from the Public Health Officer from March 17-April 7, SCSD is continuing high-quality teaching and learning at home until we can resume school at our campuses. This shift to at-home learning is a significant one for our staff as there is simply no replacement for face-to-face teaching and learning. With that being said, teachers and support staff have spent the last two days learning and planning with principals and will be ready to begin distance learning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18.   

During this period, teachers will continue California Standards-based lessons and activities so that students keep up with their grade-level curriculum and provide a diversity of activities to occupy your student(s) during normal school hours.


Distance Learning Plan
We have just launched a new SCSD Distance Learning website to help guide parents and students through the process. The home page details our new Distance Learning Parent guide, as well as other helpful links. Please go to your child’s school page to access daily learning plans for your student. Please also use your school’s attendance form to log in each day by 9:00am. This will allow us to track attendance for state reporting, but will also serve as a daily routine for your child to remind them to login and learn everyday. Your child’s principal and teacher(s) will also remain in contact with you throughout the distance learning plan.


Technology and Device Support
If you need to check out a Chromebook, please contact your child’s principal and you can arrange for a pick up time. Should you run into any difficulties with our devices or accessing any of our online learning platforms, please first try to solve the problem with your child’s teacher, then principal, and if support is still needed, email from your child’s email account. 


Food Services
We are providing a modified lunch service while schools are closed. Lunches can be picked up at the kitchen near Central Middle School’s Mustang Hall, 826 Chestnut Ave. between 11:00 am-1:00 pm M-F. Complimentary meals, breakfast and lunch, will be available for pick up at multiple sites in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park from 10:00 am-1:00 pm for children in the Ravenswood community, 18 years & younger. Find out more by clicking on the link - 
Click here for information.


Thank you to our families and our tremendous SCSD staff for your support and flexibility during this difficult period.


Michelle Harmeier


March 16, 2020


Dear SCSD Community,


The San Mateo County Health Officer has issued a new order to take effect at midnight tonight, March 16. This order is made with five other bay area counties (see press release). The County Health Officer has also provided an updated statement on the County Health Department's website


Although our educational efforts are considered essential services, we are effectively closing our campuses to both students and staff starting tomorrow, March 17. We will reduce activity to what is strictly necessary to continue offering distance learning and limited school lunches. 

Michelle Harmeier

March 14, 2020


Dear SCSD Families and Staff,


Thank you for your understanding, flexibility, and support of each other during this challenging time of managing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As you know, we have closed our schools to students to SLOW and hopefully LIMIT the spread of COVID-19 between families and the general population. We now need your support in making this drastic shift effective, as the virus is highly contagious even when individuals are not experiencing symptoms.


This afternoon, Dr. Morrow from the San Mateo County Health Department issued this ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER No. c19-2b (Revised) which bans gatherings of 50 or more individuals beginning Sunday, March 15. Gatherings between 10-50 individuals are also prohibited unless special measures are taken. 

  • The space in which the gathering is held must accommodate social distancing by allowing all attendees to stand or sit at least six feet from any other attendee; 
  • Proper hand hygiene and sanitation material must be readily available to all persons at all times, including soap and waste receptacles. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used.
  • Persons hosting gatherings must alert prospective attendees at least 24 hours prior to the gathering that gatherings pose a heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission, and that older adults and individuals with existing health conditions are at particularly serious risk if they contract COVID-19 and should not attend; 
  • Persons hosting gatherings must clean surfaces with disinfecting wipes or other standard cleaners before, during, and after the event.


Please also review and adhere to the ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER No. c19-3, issued by Dr. Morrow, San Mateo County Public Health Officer. Specifically, #11 of Dr. Morrow’s Order requires action by SCSD families. The Order reads:

“Parents and legal guardians are ordered to take reasonable measures to ensure that students who are not in school as a result of this Order are following recommended guidelines for preventing the transmission of the virus, including social distancing. Students of all ages should be prevented from congregating and engaging in group activities during the pendency of this Order to assist in efforts to prevent transmission of COVID-19.”


Myself, County Superintendent Magee, our School Board and our PTA leadership support the Order and urge you to follow its guidelines.


As each of you are thinking about “social distancing” in your family, I also highly encourage you to review this helpful Medium Article: “Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day”, written by Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH .  Pertinent to our SCSD families, the author states,

  • We must move to pandemic mitigation through widespread, uncomfortable, and comprehensive social distancing. That means not only shutting down schools, work (as much as possible), group gatherings, and public events, but also making daily choices to stay away from each other as much as possible to Flatten The Curve…”
  • “No kid playdates, parties, sleepovers, or families/friends visiting each other’s houses and apartments. This sounds extreme because it is. We are trying to create distance between family units and between individuals. It may be particularly uncomfortable for families with small children, kids with differential abilities or challenges, and for kids who simply love to play with their friends. But even if you choose only one friend to have over, you are creating new links and possibilities for the type of transmission that all of our school/work/public event closures are trying to prevent. The symptoms of coronavirus take four to five days to manifest themselves. Someone who comes overlooking well can transmit the virus.


With thousands of school-age children now at home in the Bay Area, our effective individual actions can positively impact entire communities by limiting the spread of the virus so our healthcare system can continue operating at a sustainable level. I will continue to share information from our health department leaders as it becomes available. Thank you all, including our tremendous SCSD educators, for your support and flexibility during this difficult period.



Michelle Harmeier 


March 13, 2020


Effective as of Monday, March 16, 2020, and continuing through Friday, April 3, 2020, all Schools in San Mateo County are hereby ordered to modify operations in accordance with this Modifications of School Operations Order. Please read the SMCOE press release for additional information.

March 13, 2020


Dear San Carlos Community,


Thank you for your emails over the past days sharing your thoughts about moving to distance learning, showing appreciation for the challenging situation, and supporting our teachers, staff and larger community.  


With guidance from our School Board, based on learning that the San Mateo County Health Department Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued an order to dismiss students in San Mateo County from regular attendance at school from March 16 - April 3, 2020 we will move to a distance learning model beginning on Monday, March 16, as anticipated. In-person classes are suspended as of March 16. All school-run events and activities are cancelled indefinitely including after school sports.


SCSD will shift to distance learning Monday, March 16. Our sites will remain open only for staff and certain limited services


Students will be dismissed to learn from home beginning Monday, March 16. The distance learning plan will be shared by your teacher no later than Wednesday. This is a new approach for our students and staff and I ask that you have patience as we all learn to adjust to this new learning model together.  Our incredible group of teachers, principals, and support staff have been preparing for this possibility and will be sending home some of the appropriate instructional materials with students today. This may include workbooks, literature, notebooks, etc. Teachers will be communicating with parents and students electronically so please continue to check for email communication from teachers and principals with more details.


While it is not possible to match the learning conditions present in classrooms, our dedicated teachers and staff are committed to doing everything they can to make sure learning continues.  In the lower grades, distance learning will include a variety of resources, and in the upper grades, we expect a greater use of technology and online learning platforms like Google Classroom.

As SCSD moves to Distance Learning for the next two weeks and possibly longer, we will plan for the following:

  • Make Chromebooks available for checkout for those students that need them next week
  • Make school lunches available for those students that need them
  • Keep the school offices open for parents and staff
  • Close school campuses, fields and playgrounds indefinitely
  • Support all staff with this shift, with the understanding that it may take a few days for us to get "up to speed" with assignments (please do not ask your teacher or principal about details right now--they need time to figure this out)
  • Support students with IEPs


Social Distancing Protocols

We are asking for your support in helping enforce social distancing protocols (such as these recommended by the WHO) for the good of our community.  We must contain the virus’s spread as much as possible. The sacrifices we will all make are effectively negated if students or families are gathering socially. Our community needs us all to work together to reduce the burden on our healthcare system and flatten the curve of COVID-19. With this in mind, our school campuses and playgrounds will be closed to the public indefinitely. School offices will be open for office hours that principals will communicate in additional communication.


Ongoing Communication

This is a continually evolving landscape and we should be prepared for things to change and shift as we move through this. We will continue to communicate with you as we have new information. Please feel free to also reach out if you have urgent concerns, comments, or questions. Our staff capacity to respond individually is limited but know that we will be reading emails and taking into account your perspective.


The School Board and I have been impressed by the compassion and resiliency that our school community has shown during these uncertain times, and we have confidence that together we will weather this challenge. As I have said before, our priority is for the safety of our students, staff, families and community, and we will continue to make our decisions to support this based on the recommendations of our partners in public health.


Wishing all of you good health.


Michelle Harmeier, Ed.D



March 12, 2020


Dear SCSD Parents,

As we plan for possible distance learning, our teachers need to know if students have internet access at home and what digital devices are available to them during the day. Please complete this Family Digital Device Survey so that we can plan effectively.


Thank you again for your continued support and understanding with this continuously evolving situation.


Michelle Harmeier

March 12, 2020


Dear San Carlos Staff and Community,


This communication will address:

  • Updated statement from the County Health Officer
  • Decision-making process about school closures


Updated Statement From SMCHD 

The County Health Office provided an updated statement to the San Mateo County Community and I recommend you read it here: Health Office Statement (3/10/2020)


Decision Making Process for School Closures
Currently, no public school districts in San Mateo County are closed. However, the school superintendents in the County had a serious discussion of the topic Wednesday afternoon. We are continuing to consult with County Health and assessing the situation on an ongoing basis. Our next conference call will take place this Friday. After that meeting, I will consult the Board by phone and give you an update by Friday evening.


We need to be prepared for the possibility of school closing beginning on Monday, March 16, through spring break, which ends April 5. I recommend that families prepare provisional plans for child care. There is a good chance that before and after school childcare providers will close if the school district closes.

Our priority is the safety of our students, staff, families, and community. We will make this decision with the guidance and input of the County Health Officer and the Board of Trustees. Should you wish to share your thoughts with us regarding this decision, you may reply to this email, or email me at I will acknowledge receipt of your email but will not be able to reply with an in-depth response and will update all in my next community message. 

Thank you for your continued support and understanding with this continuously evolving situation. 

Michelle Harmeier, Ed.D.
(650) 590-5935

March 7, 2020

Dear SCSD Community,

Given the Thursday, March 5 revised guidance from the San Mateo County Health Officer, we spent Friday considering how to apply his recommendation that, "all non-essential gatherings should be canceled, postponed, or done remotely." 

San Mateo County school district representatives discussed the above recommendation and a number of other issues at a meeting yesterday at the County Office of Education. Here is SCSD’s current guidance on school activities, which is in line with many other school districts in the County:

  • Before and after school child care on school facilities will continue as usual. 
  • PTA and school district-sponsored after school activities are canceled or postponed indefinitely.
  • Third-party vendors using our facilities will communicate their plans independently and let parents know if enrichment classes are cancelled (ie. KidzToPros, San Carlos Children’s Theater).
  • We are suspending indefinitely school assemblies, morning meetings, and other in-school activities that create large gatherings and/or mix students from different classrooms in close proximity. 
  • Field trips are suspended indefinitely also. We have not yet made a final decision regarding the Arroyo 4th grade overnight science trip after spring break.
  • Instrument selection night for 5th graders will be postponed.
  • Currently, there will be no restrictions placed on students' lunch and recess practices/activities other than handwashing before and after snack and lunch. 
  • We will continue with our usual practices for elementary music and PE.  However, elementary music sharing events are cancelled until further notice.
  • After school sports will continue as scheduled for now. The high school and middle school leagues have decided to continue their scheduled games. We understand completely if families choose to withhold their students from participating. I will monitor closely the status of afterschool sports over the coming days. 

I expect to continue to work through the specifics of the above guidance with school leaders into next week. Additionally, we are planning for the possibility of school closures. We will do our best to continue learning in the case of extended closures. I advise families to make provisional child care plans should we need to close your student's school. 

As a reminder, we have created a SCSD COVID-19 FAQ page on the District’s website. As the situation evolves, we will continue to update it. As promised, when a meaningful change in the situation necessitates, we will provide email communication in addition to adding it to the FAQ. 


If you have questions about your student's classroom or school, please direct those to your school leaders. If you have questions about this email, our communication, or our districtwide guidance, you are welcome to reply directly to me. I will do my best to respond.    

Michelle Harmeier, Ed.D.
(650) 590-5935

March 4, 2020


Dear SCSD Community,


Thank you for everyone’s calm and helpful responses related to the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation. We recognize that the unknown and the close proximity of confirmed cases has the potential to increase concerns and questions. 


We have created a SCSD COVID-19 FAQ page on the District’s website. As the situation evolves, we will continue to update it. As promised, when a meaningful change in the situation necessitates, we will provide email communication to parents in addition to adding it to the FAQ. 


Late last night, SCSD was informed that Menlo School, a private independent school in Atherton, would be closing for the remainder of the week to accommodate a deep environmental cleaning of their school after an employee was exposed to a family member who tested positive with the COVID-19 virus. They made this discretionary decision out of an abundance of caution. There are currently no known positive cases of COVID-19 at Menlo School.  


At this time, there is no reason for concern that this situation puts SCSD students or staff at increased risk. San Carlos School District continues without interruption. 


During this time of heightened sensitivity, we have slightly increased our “stay at home” symptom standards to the following: Any time your child exhibits even mild cold/flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat and/or respiratory symptoms (such as shortness of breath, sneezing, etc.), they should stay home. Fever need not be present to keep your child at home. Additionally, you will see new information about our COVID-19 Response Team, field trip protocols, and more. We will be adding “revised on” dates to each question to assist you in quickly identifying information that may be new. 


Today, the County of San Mateo announced the opening of a public call center for residents with non-medical questions about COVID-19. The opening of the call center follows the proclamation of a local emergency in San Mateo County by San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy and the declaration of a local health emergency by San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow. 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. The San Mateo County Office of Education sent this press release on the impact of San Mateo County’s local emergency announcement on schools.


Thank you for your attention to this matter. 


In partnership with you,
Michelle Harmeier, Ed.D.
(650) 590-5935

February 28, 2020

Hello San Carlos Community,

The County Health Officer has released
this statement regarding recommended coronavirus preparations. I recommend that you read it.

We are coordinating closely with San Mateo Health, and the County Office of Education has coordinated a meeting tomorrow with San Mateo Health and all of the school districts in the county. We'll keep you updated on developments.

Michelle Harmeier, Ed.D.
(650) 590-5935

February 27, 2020

Dear San Carlos Community,

As critical partners in our success and given the rising concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (now named COVID-19), we wanted to share the following updates.

We are continuing to work closely with the San Mateo County Health Department in monitoring the situation and the County Office of Education in monitoring the COVID-19 situation. According to the California Department of Public Health, as of February 26, 2020, there are 9 cases of COVID-19 coronavirus confirmed in California by CDC lab testing from approximately 200 persons tested to date.

You may already be aware that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued new travel warnings for South Korea, Japan, and Italy. Travel warnings for China have not changed, and the CDC has lowered its level of concern for travel to Hong Kong and Taiwan. A situation summary, risk assessment, travel advisory, and additional information about the travel warnings can be found on the CDC website.

The CDC also recently shared that the coronavirus may begin spreading in communities in the United States. We are working with county school and health officials to review protocols for schools in the event that coronavirus spreads in San Mateo County. We will share more information as our preparations advance. 

We are continuing to support our custodians with best practices for cleaning commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs and fountain handles. As a reminder, if your child is sick, please keep them home from school. To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including the coronavirus and the flu, follow these important tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • See a medical professional if you or a member of your family experiences severe symptoms.
  • Get vaccinated every year.

The California Department of Public Health does not recommend the use of face masks for general prevention and says that handwashing provides much better protection from infectious diseases. So far, the State has not revised its guidance to schools. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as we have them. 

As always, thank you for your support of our schools, and I invite you to write to me with questions or comments.

Michelle Harmeier, Ed.D.
(650) 590-5935 

February 10, 2020


Dear SCSD Families,


On Friday, February 7, the California Department of Public Health released new guidance for schools concerning novel coronavirus. While the Department recognizes the health risk to the general public in California remains low, there has been an increase in cases worldwide, and travel anywhere in China in the past 14 days is considered a risk factor for novel coronavirus infection.


As such, all students who traveled from mainland China and arrived in the United States since February 3, 2020 should stay home from school for 14 days, beginning the day after they left China. Please note, at this time, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are not included in this guidance.


If this applies to you or your family, please be sure to contact your physician, stay home from school, and inform your child’s school staff.


To protect the health of our students and staff, we consistently follow the California Department of Public Health’s guidance for children who appear to be sick. There are also important steps that everyone can take to help prevent the spread of illnesses:

  • Stay home when sick.
  • Remain at home until the fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
  • Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe, e.g., high fever or difficulty breathing.
  • Use “respiratory etiquette” and cover cough with a tissue or sleeve.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • If you haven’t done so yet, ensure you and your family have received a flu shot. While the flu shot won’t prevent coronavirus illnesses, it can protect against other illnesses.
  • Face masks are most useful for preventing disease spread when they are worn by people who have symptoms.


In addition, we're reviewing best practices with our custodians for cleaning commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs and fountain handles. And during the President's Week break, custodians will be deep cleaning all schools.


Ensuring a safe, supportive, and positive school climate is critically important during this challenging time. Given that travel restrictions are focused on mainland China, please be mindful of behaviors or conversations that might stigmatize students, other families, or staff. It's important that we continue to promote welcoming and inclusive school communities.    


We will share additional guidance as we receive it.



Michelle Harmeier, Ed.D.


(650) 590-5935

January 28, 2020

Dear Parents, Caregivers, and SCSD Staff,

The CDC and State and Bay Area public health departments are closely monitoring developments regarding an outbreak caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Hubei Province, China. The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020 in the State of Washington. Public health departments are working to identify anyone who might be infected to prevent further spread of the outbreak. San Mateo County residents are at LOW RISK of becoming infected.

When new viruses surface, there can be lots of anxiety and stress. It's important to stay informed. We acknowledge the impact that the news of this outbreak is having on our community, and on those who have friends or relatives who are affected. We are thinking of you.

What you need to know

  • Within the last 14 days, if your child has traveled from Hubei Province, China, (including the capital, Wahun)- or has had close contact with someone who has- and has any of these respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath), keep your child home from school and contact your healthcare provider who will reach out to San Mateo County Health if the case warrants. It’s important to call your healthcare provider in advance before arriving at a clinic or doctor’s office.
  • SCSD will use the same illness protocol we use with other illnesses. We require that your child be fever-free without medication for at least 24 hours before returning to school. We ask that you notify the school office if your child has been diagnosed with a contagious illness. 
  • San Mateo County Health has a webpage dedicated to coronavirus at We will monitor the developing situation and inform you of any additional public health recommendations. 

In the meantime, please continue to follow the health tips provided in last week’s email from Mindy Hill to prevent the spread of illness.