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COVID-19 Information

Hello Orinda Families-

As we work with the Contra Costa County Health Authorities to monitor the developments of COVID-19, student and staff health and safety remain our top priority.  Please check in to this webpage for the latest developments and updates related to our response to COVID-19.

Updated April 30, 2020


April 30, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda USD Parents/Guardians and Staff,

Our community has been sheltering in place for seven weeks to combat the spread of COVID-19. This previously unimaginable situation has taken a tremendous toll on all of us. Our parents/guardians are navigating working from home while helping their children complete schoolwork, and our teachers are learning an entirely new way to do their jobs while also balancing teaching their own children and other responsibilities. While the circumstances have been daunting, there have been many successes and happy moments as well - lessons learned and newfound ways that families, students, and teachers are bonding with each other. I am hopeful that we will take the best of what we have experienced during the shelter-in-place and continue implementing those practices when restrictions are lifted.  

Results of Phase Two Distance Learning Surveys
We are working constantly to ensure the best possible outcomes from Distance Learning for all of our students. To that end, we surveyed our parents/guardians and teachers regarding their experiences with Phase Two of Distance Learning. Director of Curriculum and Instruction David Schrag presented the results of these surveys to the Board of Trustees during Monday’s Special Board Meeting. We greatly appreciate the high participation numbers: 951 parent/guardian responses and 98 teacher responses. Below are the overarching themes from the surveys:


Parent/Guardian Survey Highlights Teacher Survey Highlights
Challenges with time/Demands required to support students at home Significant time/workload issues with Distance Learning Experience
Appreciation for teachers and what has been provided Providing student feedback using digital tools is time-intensive
Strong interest in expanding live sessions including teaching new content Increased collaboration with colleagues and developing greater capacity with technology


The District is also in the process of surveying our students to gain a direct understanding of their school experience since our campuses closed. The input of all of these important stakeholders - students, teachers, and parents/guardians - is critical and will be used to improve our Distance Learning program as we move forward.  

Governor’s Announcement - Reopening Schools
During a press conference on Tuesday, Governor Newsom articulated for the first time his interest in having schools open in July as part of a recovery cycle. Later that day, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, issued a statement that expressed interest in collaborating with the Governor but noted “we still have more questions than answers” about the possibility of schools reopening earlier.

We in Orinda USD will continue to be guided by our public health officials, with whom we talk weekly, about the path of the novel coronavirus and its potential impact on our schools. We are skeptical about any early return as we believe there is significant planning ahead of us to implement public health directives on physical distancing when we do reopen. We are expecting additional state guidance and local direction in the middle of May. Equally important, the majority of our employees work under a school calendar that is adopted over a year in advance of the school start date. Any change in the work year must be negotiated with our teachers’ union and classified staff union. 

The 2020-2021 School Year
While we continue to hear that school next year will look very different due to physical distancing requirements, we are currently still planning on Thursday, August 13, as our first day of school. We will determine the details of our school schedules for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year once we gain more information and parameters from state and local officials.  As always, I will keep you informed of those details and what to expect as soon as the information is available.

If you have questions or comments, please contact me at or the Board of Trustees at  Thank you for your continued efforts to make Distance Learning successful for all of our students.


Carolyn Seaton, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


April 21, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda USD Community,  

During this time of Distance Learning, the safety and wellness of our school communities remain our top priority. Self-care is essential for you and your family to stay grounded emotionally during times of stress and anxiety. This includes establishing routines, making regular social contact, participating in consistent physical activity, eating healthy meals, and getting adequate sleep. We truly hope you are finding comfort that helps you regulate and regenerate in a meaningful way.

Children may be experiencing stress, grief, and loss, and are more vulnerable to these effects.  It can be difficult to recognize these changes in your child(ren) and to plan which tools and strategies will help.  A new resource, The California Surgeon General’s Playbook: Stress Relief during COVID-19, provides steps and strategies that may be beneficial.   

Connections to caring adults and peers are more important than ever as we work through this challenging time together. If you need ideas regarding how to support your child(ren) or developing a plan to help with emotional support, please contact our Wellness Staff:

Teri Jasman, Behavior Specialist

Heather McCall, Behavior Specialist

Nico Peters, Del Rey & Glorietta School Psychologist 

Niva Dotan, Wagner Ranch & Sleep Hollow School Psychologist 

Atalya Rubin, OIS School Psychologist 

Heather Raser, OIS Counselor A-L 

Jay Stevens, OIS Counselor M-Z 

If you or a family member are feeling overwhelmed with sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  There are also additional resources available:

Partner abuse is never okay, and there are people standing by to help, especially during this health crisis. If you can, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or text LOVEIS to 22522 for 24/7 help in English or Spanish. If you can’t call, visit to learn how to create a safety plan or get immediate help with the 24/7 “Chat Now” feature. Call or text the Victims of Crime Resource Center at 1-800-VICTIMS line for information on victim services programs in California.  There are additional resources available:

Community members play an important role in protecting children from abuse and neglect.  If you are worried about the health and/or safety of a child, call 877-881-1116.  Working together, we can best support the safety, health, and wellness of every Orinda USD student.

Dr. Carrie Nerheim
Director, Student Services


April 7, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda Union School District Staff and Families,

As you may have seen, this afternoon public health officers and county superintendents in six Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Francisco) issued a joint press release announcing that “they will extend the suspension of in-class instruction through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.” You can read the full press release here. Based on this information, Orinda Union School District school facilities will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. 

Although our physical campuses will not reopen this school year, Orinda USD staff will continue to support students in a virtual learning environment and deliver lessons via distance learning to meet the academic and social/emotional needs of our students. You can access our Distance Learning Guidelines for Parents/Guardians here. We are working on plans to celebrate the accomplishments of our students, including fifth and eighth grade promotion ceremonies, and will share them in the coming weeks.  

While we have anticipated this outcome and communicated as much last week, I know this news is disappointing. This situation remains a challenge, but our health experts continue to remind us that following the stay-at-home order and practicing strict physical distancing are the two best ways to slow the transmission of this virus. For the health of our community, our healthcare workers, and the effectiveness of our school closures, please do your part to isolate as a family unit. 

Thank you for your continuous support during this unprecedented challenge. Your positive messages, encouragement, feedback, and partnership are greatly appreciated.  

Wishing you good health,

Carolyn Seaton, Ed.D.


April 6, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda Union School District Families,

As a reminder, our students will begin Phase Two of Orinda USD’s distance learning this Wednesday, April 8. Our teachers completed one day of Professional Development/Planning today, and will participate in one additional day tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7. The faculty and staff of Orinda USD remain committed to supporting our students by providing high-quality learning opportunities, social/emotional support, and a degree of normalcy. 

As promised in my April 3 communication, I am sharing with you Orinda USD's Phase Two Distance Learning Guidelines for Parents/Guardians, which contains information about our transition from classroom-based instruction to distance learning. Please read through this document carefully, as it contains detailed information about your child(ren)’s learning experience. Under the distance learning model, Orinda USD will continue to offer our students engaging, standards-based educational opportunities, with the necessary support structures to help them fully engage in learning opportunities and be successful in the subsequent grade level.

As we enter into this next phase of distance learning, we will learn more about effective and meaningful practices for teaching and learning through distance learning, as well as ways to maintain strong connections within our classroom and school communities. These guidelines are a living document that will evolve as we learn, but it is my hope that they address many of the questions or concerns you may have about what to expect as we enter Phase Two. Please reach out to your child(ren)’s teacher(s) or school Principal if you have specific questions.

Thank you for your continued partnership,

Carolyn Seaton, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Orinda Phase Two Parent Guidelines for Distance Learning.pdf 


April 3, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda Union School District Staff and Families,

In the three weeks since we transitioned from teaching students in classrooms to implementing distance learning, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every facet of our lives.  Despite the personal and professional challenges our teachers, staff, and administrators are facing as a result of COVID-19, we remain steadfast in our commitment to meeting the academic and social-emotional needs of our students.  National education leader Dr. Joshua Starr recently stated, “Kids are always learning; what they’re learning now is how adults respond to a crisis.” It is important to model for our students that when faced with adversity, we work through each obstacle collaboratively, creatively, and thoughtfully.

Governor & State Superintendent’s Announcements About School Closures
As mentioned earlier this week, on Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond sent a letter to County Superintendents recommending that school campuses close for the duration of this school year, due to current safety concerns and the need for ongoing physical distancing. On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced and reiterated on Thursday that families and educators should operate with the expectation that schools will not reopen.  At this time, neither the Governor nor the State Superintendent of Public Instruction has issued a formal declaration extending school closures through the end of the school year; however, the Governor’s and State Superintendent’s statements certainly indicate that Orinda USD must prepare for this expected outcome.  This is difficult news to share, but we are planning for students’ education to be delivered via distance learning through the last day of school, May 29, 2020.

Transition to Phase Two Distance Learning
On Monday, families will receive an overview from the District about our Phase Two Distance Learning Plan which focuses on the essential standards necessary for each student’s success in the subsequent grade level.  As a reminder, Monday, April 6, and Tuesday, April 7, are Professional Development/Planning Days for teachers. Our teachers and staff are collaborating closely to provide an engaging experience for all learners. We will collect data from our students, parents, and teachers to continually strengthen the distance learning we provide. 

Working Together
I am proud of our entire Orinda USD staff for the ways in which they have adjusted to delivering or supporting a high-quality education for each of our students via distance learning.  In addition, I am indebted to our parents and guardians who have stepped up in unimaginable ways to support our students’ learning at home. Though it is highly unlikely we will be able to welcome students back to campus this school year, we are confident that learning will continue, and that every educator and support professional in our District will work tirelessly on behalf of the students and families we serve.  

Our community has come together and developed creative solutions to an unprecedented challenge. I feel confident that we will one day reflect on this era in our history as a time we rose to the occasion and surprised ourselves with our flexibility, perseverance, and compassion.

Thank you for your continued partnership,

Carolyn Seaton, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


March 31, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda USD Community,

This afternoon I received a letter from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond stating, “Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year. This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.”  The letter can be accessed HERE.  Superintendent Thurmond has stressed that his recommendation was not a directive; it is ultimately up to local school districts and/or health departments to decide whether school campuses should remain open or closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.  

The Orinda Union School District Board of Trustees will address the potential extension of school closures beyond May 3 at its April 13, 2020, regular Board Meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Members of the public will have the opportunity to submit comments in writing to the Board in advance of the meeting and will be able to connect to the meeting via Zoom.  If you would like to be added to the Board agenda email distribution list to receive notifications about this and all future Board meetings, email Debbie Jamieson at  

Dr. Carolyn Seaton
Superintendent of Schools


March 27, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda USD Community, 

First and foremost, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to our incredible community here within Orinda USD.  I am so appreciative of all the time and energy everyone has invested in continuing to provide exceptional educational experiences for our students during this unprecedented time in history.  Spring Break officially starts today; while it may not look like the Spring Break your family had planned, I hope you are able to create quality time over the next ten days with your loved ones.

At our Special Board Meeting this afternoon, our Orinda USD Directors shared a presentation with the Board, which we hope you will review as it contains pertinent information about Phase 2 of Online Learning, which will begin on Wednesday, April 8.  (You may have to open the link to the presentation in a new tab to access it successfully.)  As a reminder, teachers and staff will be participating in two professional development days on Monday, April 6, and Tuesday, April 7, so these will be non-instructional days for students.  Over the past few weeks, teachers shifted their entire teaching model from in-person instruction to online instruction to implement Phase 1 of Online Learning, which was no small feat.  Our teachers have done an incredible job with this transition thus far, but there more learning and preparation are needed as they move into Phase 2 of Online Learning.

Phase 2 will focus primarily on the essential standards for each grade level, introducing new content, so that students are prepared for the next academic year.  Teachers will also be introducing other ways to connect directly with their students, as we know these social and emotional links to teachers and classmates help immensely with overall mental health and stability.  While we realize there are still a number of questions in the community about what Phase 2 will look like and what the expectations are for students, please be assured that our teachers, administrators, and staff continue to work in an extremely hard and thoughtful manner to roll out Phase 2 post-Spring Break.  

We will have our official Orinda USD Phase 2 Online Learning Plan with more detailed information ready to send out to families by April 8.  Principals and teachers will also be communicating directly with families to offer additional updates.  In the meantime, please read over the linked presentation shared at today’s Special Board Meeting and let us know if you have specific questions.

With kindness, compassion, creativity, support from parents/guardians, and a commitment to teach and learn in a sea of change, our students and our teachers will prevail through this epidemic, and our Orinda community will emerge stronger and more cohesive than ever.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy Spring Break,

Dr. Carolyn Seaton
Superintendent of Schools


March 25, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda Union School District Community,

At 11:00 a.m. today, seven Bay Area County Health Officers in conjunction with six County Superintendents of Schools issued a joint press release requiring school districts to extend student dismissals from regular school attendance through May 1, 2020, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible.  During this time, residents are expected to adhere to the “Shelter in Place” orders issued by the Public Health Officers on March 16 and stay home except for essential activities until further notification from their local health department.  

Protect Yourself and Others
All community members are urged to keep practicing the guidance provided by Public Health Officers including: 

  • Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from people who do not live in your immediate household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Stay home when you are feeling sick.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. 
  • Engage in regular exercise or physical activity.

Online Learning for Students
While the first two weeks of our online learning plan have focused on building a platform, maintaining strong student connections, and reviewing prior learning, we have been preparing vigorously for the next phase of online learning in anticipation that school closures could be extended.  This second phase will include the introduction of new content from teachers and increased opportunities for engagement and essential learning that will prepare students for the next grade level.  This new phase will begin April 8, 2020. 

To support our teachers in their preparation for further implementation of distance learning, Monday, April 6, and Tuesday, April 7, 2020, will be Professional Development and Planning days.  These two days will be non-instructional days for our students.  Thank you for your understanding and support.  

Access to Technology
We recognize online learning that incorporates new concepts and skills and extends daily time commitments for students will likely require additional time on a laptop, desktop, or tablet.  Our Director of Technology, Bobby Bardenhagen, will provide more opportunities for students who need a device to borrow one from the District.  To request a device for your child/ren, please click here

Special Board Meeting on Friday, 3/27
As shared in yesterday’s update, the Orinda USD Board of Trustees will hold a Special Board Meeting on Friday, March 27, 2020, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. to discuss the District’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and the decision by County Health Officers and Superintendents of Schools to extend school closures.  Following the COVID-19 dialogue, the Board will discuss and take action on items related to our Measures E and I facilities bond projects.  

Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order that allows members of the Board and the public to participate in this meeting via Zoom teleconference.  Members of the public will be able to submit public comments electronically prior to the meeting.  Comments submitted electronically will be read aloud.  All public comments are limited to three minutes per person.  

The agenda for this Special Meeting will be published on or before 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, 2020.  More information about how members of the public can submit public comments electronically and participate in the meeting via Zoom will be included with the agenda.  If you would like to be added to the Board agenda email distribution list to receive notifications about this and all future Board meetings, email Debbie Jamieson at  

Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, David Schrag, and I will provide more detailed information about the next phase of our online learning platform for students following Spring Break.  Thank you for your patience and support as we continue working together through this ever-changing situation.  If new information regarding COVID-19 becomes available, I will be in touch as soon as possible.  


Dr. Carolyn Seaton


March 24, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda USD Community, 

Many of the most meaningful and memorable interactions people have in their lives are with their teachers.  It has not been lost on any of us that our teachers miss their students, and our students miss their teachers.  Please join me in thanking our teachers for the incredible bonds they have built with our students and the hard work they have been putting in daily to transition to online instruction.  I also want to extend my gratitude to parents, guardians, and family members for the work they are doing to partner with our teachers while juggling numerous other commitments.

Some of you have reached out to share successes and challenges you and your child/ren have experienced since our first day of online learning on March 16.  Please know that I appreciate your feedback; it helps us improve as we plan for the potential extension of school closures beyond April 7.  I expect to receive new guidance regarding timing for school closures from Contra Costa Health Services and the Contra Costa County Office of Education in the near future and will share that information with you as quickly as possible.  

Special Board Meeting on Friday, 3/27
The Orinda USD Board of Trustees will hold a Special Board Meeting on Friday, March 27, 2020, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. to discuss COVID-19 and our Measures E and I facilities bond program.  Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order that allows members of the Board to participate in this meeting via Zoom teleconference, and I will participate from the Orinda Union School District Office located at 8 Altarinda Road.  Members of the public will be able to submit public comments electronically prior to the meeting, or they may comment in person at the District Office in accordance with current social distancing guidelines.  Comments submitted electronically will be read aloud.  All public comments are limited to three minutes per person.  

The agenda for the Special Meeting will be published on or before 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, 2020.  More information about submitting public comments electronically and participating in the meeting via Zoom will be included with the agenda.  If you would like to be added to the Board agenda email distribution list to receive notifications about this and all future Board meetings, please email Debbie Jamieson at  

I wish you strength, good health, and continued resilience.

Dr. Carolyn Seaton
Superintendent of Schools


March 22, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda USD Community,

Effective immediately, all Orinda USD playground equipment is closed.  Since my communication on March 20, I have consulted with physicians who have provided me with additional insight and guidance about playground use at our school sites.  We cannot ensure that every family will properly disinfect the school playground equipment, and virus particles can linger on surfaces.  Furthermore, it is difficult for parents to prevent their child/ren from placing fingers into their mouths or on their faces.  As a result, we must, unfortunately, close the school playground equipment.  

Additionally, children should not meet outside of school in any sort of group, as these interactions put everyone at risk.  While I recognize it is difficult for students to be out of school and separated from their peers, it is critical that families follow this essential social distancing guideline.  We do not want to negate the positive public health effects of our school closures.

The CDC encourages children to stay active during this time.  Playing outdoors is good for both physical and mental health.  For this reason, families are welcome to use our school fields and blacktop areas but must adhere to State social distancing guidelines by maintaining at least six feet of separation between themselves and people not in their immediate household, including friends and relatives.  In addition, walking, hiking, and riding bikes are all excellent ways to enjoy our beautiful surroundings.  While inside, use indoor activity breaks (e.g., stretch breaks, dance breaks) throughout the day to help your child/ren stay healthy and focused.

Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to communicating with you again on or before Tuesday, March 24.  As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. 


Dr. Carolyn Seaton
Superintendent of Schools


March 20, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda USD Community,

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.”  - Willa Cather

Every day over the past week I have been amazed by innumerable acts of human kindness.  As we all hunker down with our families during this statewide shelter in place, there are a plethora of bright spots emerging across the world that connect us to one another despite the physical separation we must maintain.  From entire cities singing across balconies in Italy, to Mo Willems’ Lunch Doodles for kids, to a variety of free online musical concerts, to the generous donations of masks to local hospitals, we are thinking of others and coming together during this difficult time.  

Shelter in Place
As you are all aware, on Thursday Governor Newsom announced that the entire state is on a mandated shelter in place, a decision that impacts over 40 million California residents.  So far, we do not have clarity from the state about when this order will be lifted, but I will keep everyone in the Orinda USD community apprised of any timing developments or announcements as they arise.  While the Contra Costa Health Services’ (CCHS) shelter in place order is scheduled to end at midnight on April 7, we need to be prepared that the order may be extended later into April or even through the end of the school year. 

Online Learning Platform - Phase Two After Spring Break
Our goals for this week and next have been to maintain strong connections with students and families, practice prior learning, establish a sense of normalcy, and support the wellness and health of students, parents, and staff.  In preparation for an extended shelter in place, it is important that we begin focusing on the next phase of our online learning platform which we will implement on Wednesday, April 8, should the shelter in place be extended.  Our guiding question for phase two of our online learning platform is:  What are the most essential aspects of learning that our students need to be successful in the next academic year?

To that end, we are planning for phase two of our online learning platform to include new academic content and expand the opportunities for students to learn while keeping in mind everyone’s current reality.  We will continue to focus on these learning activities being accessible, engaging, and flexible for all students.  We have heard from parents who want more, and others who struggle to access what we have already provided.  If you are worried about this new normal for school, you are not alone.  All of us are weathering this storm together, working as hard as we can, as creatively as we can, always with our students at the forefront of our approach.  If you run into a barrier or a problem, please assume goodwill on the part of everyone involved, and let’s problem-solve together.

It takes a Herculean effort to be a great teacher during normal circumstances.  Our teachers have had to shift to teaching via an online learning platform in a very short period of time; they have made instruction meaningful for their students and I am forever indebted to them for their efforts.  We appreciate your patience and support as our teachers work diligently with their colleagues to plan for phase two of our online learning platform.  

OUSD Playground Facilities
Our Orinda USD school playground facilities offer an outdoor community space for families and Orinda residents.  We realize that for many, these sites are an important outdoor escape during this time of shelter in place.  However, we require all community members who use our school playgrounds to observe social distancing practices.  Furthermore, visitors must wipe down the play equipment before and after use.  Thank you for adhering to these guidelines to keep our children and community safe.

Spring Break
I want to remind our school community that we have a scheduled break for students and staff from March 30 to April 3, and we will be observing that break. Teachers and District staff will not be available to respond to requests during that week; please respect our employees’ need for a break.  We know the loss of travel opportunities and long-standing plans create another point of stress for everyone, and our teachers and school staff members have to face the same lost opportunities that our families are experiencing.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mindset Matters
As we teach our children on a daily basis, mindset matters.  If we do our best to approach these times with flexibility and positivity, our students will also learn to do this now and in future challenging circumstances. Though some days and hours will feel dark and stormy, we must remember that as a community and a world we are all tackling this situation together, with patience and empathy.  I look forward to providing you with the next update on Tuesday, March 24. 

Wishing you a peaceful and calm weekend,
Dr. Carolyn Seaton
Superintendent of School


March 18, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda USD Community,

            “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”    - Albert Einstein

While COVID-19 has proven to be far more impactful than many of us ever imagined, it is no match for the combined strength of our teachers, staff, administrators, parents, students, and the greater Orinda community.  Contra Costa Health Services’ March 16 order to shelter in place provides us with the opportunity to limit the spread of COVID-19 significantly.  While it is extremely difficult for each of us to alter our ways of life so considerably, our collective efforts have the power to save innumerable lives.  

This letter provides the latest information about COVID-19 as it pertains to your child’s educational program.  As you know, the response to COVID-19 at the local, state, and federal levels continues to unfold making it challenging for all of us to stay abreast of the latest information.  I urge you to continue to monitor sites such as the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionCalifornia Department of Public Health, and Contra Costa Health Services to ensure you are receiving accurate information about COVID-19.

Updates from the Governor and State Superintendent
During a press conference yesterday, Governor Newsom spoke about the possibility that California schools will not reopen again until the fall.  The Governor’s comment did not represent a new policy or decision about schools; rather, he was likely speaking as a father who is figuring out this new normal like the rest of us.  The reality is that we do not know with certainty when schools will reopen.  Our target date for schools to reopen is currently April 8, 2020, but rest assured we have already begun planning for curriculum and instruction in the event the closure is extended later into April or even May.  

Earlier today the State Superintendent of Public Instruction announced that there will be no state testing (CAASPP) for students this school year.  The cancellation of CAASPP allows teachers to focus entirely on providing new, high-quality, online educational opportunities for our students during this time without worrying about administering a test when we return to school.  

Contingency Plans for School Closure Beyond April 7
Should school closures be extended beyond April 7, Orinda USD teachers are identifying important new content for students.  Your child’s teacher(s) are collaborating with their grade level and/or departmental colleagues to determine effective means of teaching these essential standards using our online platform.  We are still working on the details, but we already have several fundamental elements in place.  

Please understand that live streaming instruction is not a feasible option.  During this time of shelter in place, many of our parents are working from home, siblings are sharing devices, and teachers are providing childcare for their own children.  By providing online lessons that can be accessed throughout the day, we are honoring the variety of circumstances our families and educators are experiencing.  We realize that some parents are eager for extended instruction, and teachers are working hard to plan and prepare experiences that will engage and be accessible to all learners.  We have developed a resource page for extension activities that families can access here.

Orinda USD is still observing Spring Break from March 30 through April 3, 2020.  You will not receive lessons or email from your child’s teacher(s) during that week.  Thank you for your understanding.

Special Education - Students on IEPs
We are working with the California Department of Education, the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA), and our partner districts in Lamorinda to develop plans for our students with special needs in the event of an extended closure.  Your child’s case manager will be reaching out to you soon to touch base and offer assistance.  

Food for Students in Need
For families in need, Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) is providing free lunch to all children 18 and younger from Campolindo High School (300 Moraga Rd. in Moraga) and Las Lomas High School (1460 S. Main St. in Walnut Creek).  Schools will be open Monday through Friday 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. for students to pick-up lunch from the snack windows to take home.  No identification or proof of school enrollment is required, but a child must be present.  Families will not need to enter the school building for pick-up.  AUHSD kindly asks that you adhere to all social distancing guidance. Please note, lunch may not be consumed on school grounds.  As of now, the free meals for students in need will be available through Friday, March 27.  We will provide updates regarding AUHSD’s program and its potential extension. 

Student and Adult Wellness
During this time of great uncertainty, it is understandable that children and adults can feel anxious and overwhelmed.  Your child may respond differently to the COVID-19 situation depending on his/her age.  This resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides potential reactions according to age group and the best ways parents can respond.  In addition, our partner Mindful Littles has worked tirelessly to create mindfulness and social-emotional learning resources for families to use during this time:  

Starting this Friday, March 20, Mindful Littles will be launching a digital program to bring mindfulness, self-care, service projects, and kindness activities to families; if you are interested in receiving these emails, please sign up here.  Furthermore, Orinda parent Elizabeth Sautter M.A., CCC is a licensed speech and language pathologist.  She has shared these free resources that include example school schedules, steps for checking in with your child on a daily basis, calming menus for you and your child, and a mindfulness resource guide.  

In my neighborhood, I am seeing more families going on walks, riding bikes, and hiking together than ever before.  This is a great time to read and discuss a book as a family, play cards and/or board games, assemble jigsaw puzzles, and participate in acts of kindness such as writing notes to residents of nursing homes or shopping for and delivering groceries to our neighbors who are elderly and/or immunocompromised.  We have a unique opportunity to practice patience, resiliency, and compassion.

This is a challenging time for us all, but I really believe that we will come out of this situation stronger, more united, and better able to connect with our students and families.  The collaborative work happening with our teachers and staff will pay huge dividends as this crisis has necessitated new and exciting methods of delivering a true 21st-century curriculum.  I look forward to providing you with the next update on or before Friday, March 20, at 4 p.m. 

Dr. Carolyn Seaton
Orinda USD Superintendent of Schools


March 16, 2020 Update

Dear Orinda Union School District Community,

Thank you for your continued support during this unprecedented time.  Orinda Union School District wants to ensure you are up to date regarding the latest developments about COVID-19 as it relates to your child’s educational program.

Shelter in Place Order from Contra Costa Health Services

In light of today’s shelter in place order from Contra Costa Health Services which goes into effect tonight, March 16, the earliest school may reopen is Wednesday, April 8, 2020.  In compliance with the shelter in place order, all Orinda USD school sites, Before and After School Clubs (BASC), and the District Office will be closed.  

Answering Parent Questions about Student Learning 

You should have received communication from your child’s teacher(s) today regarding the options available to your student through Orinda USD’s online learning platform.  Our goal during the school closure is to support students’ social and emotional wellbeing by maintaining strong connections to school and by providing high-quality instructional opportunities for continued learning.  We have developed a frequently asked questions document to assist you with the online learning platform.  

Parent Resources

The District has developed a COVID-19 webpage and is continually updating it with the most relevant information:  Additionally, we want to remind you about the following resources that may assist you in speaking with your child about COVID-19 and school closures:

I have been incredibly impressed with the hard work and dedication of our teachers and staff in their response to this crisis.  Their flexibility, resilience, and professionalism have been remarkable.  Likewise, we are fortunate to have such engaged parents who have been tremendous partners with our teachers and staff.  I plan to send my next communication regarding COVID-19 by or before Wednesday, March 18, at 4 p.m.  

Stay safe and healthy,

Dr. Carolyn Seaton


March 13, 2020 Update

Orinda USD Schools Closed to Students from March 16-27, 2020

Important Announcement - COVID 19 School Closure

Dear Orinda USD Community,

We recognize that the past weeks have been challenging as we all navigate this unprecedented and dynamic global pandemic. We greatly appreciate the communication sent to us by parents, staff, and community members regarding COVID-19. After careful deliberation, the Board of Trustees voted tonight to dismiss school to students from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27, 2020. Spring Break is scheduled the following week, March 30, through April 3, 2020. We know the cancellation of school and its associated activities is disappointing and extremely disruptive to our daily lives. However, we believe we must close our school sites for the health and well-being of our larger community.


Student Learning During Closure

During this time, the most vital aspects of our work are to support the social and emotional health of our students and provide opportunities for continued learning. The District’s Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs) have developed an online learning platform for all Orinda teachers to use with their students. The goal of this platform is to provide high-quality educational experiences for students and help maintain a sense of normalcy. Each teacher is working with his/her grade level team or department to maintain connections with his/her students. You should expect to hear from your child’s school/teacher(s) about a specific academic plan by Monday, March 16th. If needed, Chromebooks are available for students to check out through our device lending form. Important information about how to access your student’s learning tools can be found HERE.   


Community Role in Slowing the Spread of COVID-19

This is a unique public health situation that is rapidly changing. Please plan to keep your child(ren) at home during this time. The decision to close schools is an attempt to slow the spread of this virus; it will only be effective if the community also takes steps to practice self-isolation, monitor for any symptoms, and avoid large gatherings.  We encourage all community members to do their part, or we will negate the positive public health effects of widespread school closures. 


Resources for Families

The following resources provide guidance regarding how to speak with your child(ren) about this current situation:

National Association of School Psychologists - Talking to Children About COVID-19: A Parent Resource

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Talking with Children About Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for Parents, School Staff, and Others Working With Children

Stanford Children’s Health - How to Talk with Kids About COVID-19

American Academic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry - Talking to Children About Coronavirus - COVID 19

American Academy of Pediatrics - How to Prepare for the Possibility of School or Childcare Closings


Next Steps

During our school closure and Spring Break, we will continue to monitor information about COVID-19 and make a determination about a reopening date prior to Friday, April 3. I will communicate any changes or updates to our District plan as they become available. Please visit the Orinda Union School District website at for the most up to date information.  

We recognize that the impacts of this decision will be felt in numerous ways, and we have not taken these steps lightly. We thank you for your continued support during this challenging time.


Dr. Carolyn Seaton
Superintendent of Schools


Useful Links and Updates:
CDC - Coronavirus Disease 2019 - Center for Disease Control and Prevention resources

CDPH - Novel Coronavirus 2019 - California Department of Public Health resources

County Health Services - Coronavirus - Contra Costa County Health Services resources

Get Your Household Ready - Tips for you and your household

March 12, 2020 Update

Thank you for your patience as we work with our educational and public health partners to consider our options for responding to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The Orinda USD Board of Trustees has scheduled an Emergency Board Meeting for tomorrow, Friday, March 13, at 4:30 p.m. at the District Office to discuss the possibility of closing our schools from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27, 2020. We plan to follow Contra Costa Health Services’ current public health recommendation of no more than 50 attendees in the meeting. We strongly encourage members of the public to email pertinent comments regarding potential school closures to me at All emails received by 3 p.m. on Friday will be provided to the Board prior to the meeting. To support social distancing guidelines, we will not allow more than 50 people to be present in the meeting room at any one time. 

I will send a message to all Orinda USD community members promptly following the meeting with an update on the Board action taken regarding school closures.  We have also created a new section of our District website to be a repository for COVID-19 information, resources, and updates:

Our teachers, staff, and administrators have been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to keep our students safe at school as well as prepare for a potential school closure. We are deeply grateful to the entire Orinda USD school community for their patience, flexibility, and willingness to work together during this unprecedented pandemic.

March 10, 2020 Update
Thank you for your support and suggestions as we all respond to the evolving news about the COVID-19 virus.  We want to update you on the actions we are taking in the Orinda Union School District in partnership with Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS). 

Contra Costa Health Services - New Guidance
CCHS issued new guidance today which includes a recommendation to avoid gatherings of 50 or more people.  In compliance with this guidance and in collaboration with other area school districts, we are canceling the following school events with attendance that exceeds 50 people in one area:

  •  Field Trips
  • Assemblies
  • Science Fairs and Math Nights
  • Band and Choral Concerts
  • Plays and Musicals
  • Dances/Social Events
  • After School Sports

This restriction on events will remain in effect through March 27th, which leads into Spring Break for OUSD. We will reevaluate the viability of future events at that time based on the most up to date information from CCHS. Additionally, all principals are working on strategic and creative ways to manage large groups that regularly happen on school campuses such as recess, brunch, lunch, and before and after school clubs.

School Attendance
We respect that each family will make a decision about school attendance that is best for their circumstances. Students will not be required to get a physician’s note following an absence given the strain such a requirement would place on the health care system. 

Please understand that we are not approving independent study agreements for students staying home as a precaution for COVID-19 as requests of this nature are untenable for our staff at this time. 

While we hope not to initiate school closures due to COVID-19, we are actively developing plans for such a scenario that include leveraging technology to provide academic and social/emotional support for our students.  We will continue to keep all stakeholders updated as CCHS issues new information. Closing a school or the entire District is a serious and impactful decision that would only be made in consultation with CCHS.

We are reminding students to take the following precautions at school, and we recommend that you follow these same protocols at home. (See bottom paragraph in the infographic below):

COVID-19 Precautions

Additional Measures
We are taking advantage of the non-student day on Friday to allow our custodial staff to perform a thorough cleaning of classroom desks and other surfaces, along with bathrooms, multi-use rooms, and other areas with heavy student traffic.

Communication and Partnership
This is a dynamic situation, and we are committed to providing you with up-to-date, relevant, and accurate information.  In collaboration with our partner districts, we are monitoring the situation and closely following updates and guidelines from local, state, and national health officials. You are encouraged to monitor the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, and Contra Costa Health Services to learn the most accurate information about COVID-19.

We will continue to work in collaboration with CCHS and take seriously our responsibility to keep students safe. Our strength and support for one another will get us through these daunting circumstances.


February 26, 2020 Update
Orinda USD is committed to the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. We are monitoring data and information regarding the novel coronavirus closely. Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes diseases of varying severities ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory diseases. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been identified before in humans.

Orinda USD receives frequent updates from the California Department of Education, the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), and Contra Costa Health Services regarding COVID-19. To date, there are no confirmed cases involving a COVID-19 infection that occurred within our county. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the immediate health risk from COVID-19 for the general American public remains low, but schools can take common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases. These precautions will be helpful to prevent COVID-19 and the spread of other common illnesses such as influenza and gastroenteritis:

  • People who are sick should stay home from work or school until they are well (fever-free for at least 24 hours).
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • People who are sick should always cover their coughs and sneezes using a tissue or the crook of their elbow; wash your hands after using a tissue to wipe your nose or mouth.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your unwashed hands.

Contra Costa residents should contact their healthcare providers if they have symptoms and had close contact with someone with symptoms who traveled to China in the last 14 days. All travelers to the U.S. from China since February 2 have been asked to self-quarantine under the guidance of their local public health department for 14 days.

Please be assured that I will keep you apprised of updates regarding COVID-19 that pertain to our Orinda USD schools. To learn more about COVID-19, peruse the infographic and linked information below. Thank you for your support and partnership in keeping Orinda USD students and staff safe and protected. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me or our District nurses, Glory Lane, RN, and Leonard Kaku, RN, at (925) 258-6219 or via email at and

Due to the shelter in place order, we are no longer accepting device requests.