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Palmer School

Private school in Walnut Creek, Calif, abruptly shuts down

June 8, 2020
Leaders say the Palmer School, which opened more than 80 years ago, could not overcome obstacles related to the coronavirus.

The Palmer School for Boys and Girls, a private school in Walnut Creek, Calif., since 1939, has abruptly shut down.

The San Jose Mercury News reports the school’s headmaster says restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the health threat posed to students were too much to overcome.

“The school has been devastated by the pandemic, and our program cannot be sustained in the face of the ongoing uncertainty,” Headmaster Sam Mendes, a grandson of the school’s founders, said in an email to parents. “Please know that this decision has been made with tremendous thought and counsel.”

About 385 students in junior kindergarten through eighth grade attended the school this past year. The school had its graduation events on Friday, an alumnus says, after which Mendes, who told staff members of the closure.

Palmer was founded in 1939 by William and Elizabeth Palmer. A girl’s boarding school operated on the campus through the 1940s. The boarding school ended in 1952, when the school became the Palmer School for Boys and Girls.

Angela De La Housaye, an attorney for the school, says keeping the school open in an era of distance learning, or of proper in-class social distancing, would probably not be feasible.

“Palmer doesn’t try to be something it isn’t — it’s a community of people that takes care of your children,” she said. “It’s not going to try to morph into something it’s not.”

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