If there is any topic that is on everyone's minds right now it is coronavirus. While the illness has not infected a tremendous number of people around our area, enough have been affected to warrant some unprecedented actions to help contain its spread. The belief is that if certain steps are taken now--like reducing the number of events involving large numbers of people--we will all succeed in keeping coronavirus from becoming an even bigger health threat.
Along those lines, the Oakland Unified School District late Wednesday issued new directives regarding school-related gatherings involving more than 100 people that include canceling or postponing such events. Our Thornhill Auction, scheduled for Saturday, March 14, is not officially an OUSD event. But, it would still include more than 100 people in a confined location at a time when such gatherings are being reconsidered because of the current situation involving coronavirus.
Based on this guidance, the PFC executive board and auction committee made the difficult decision tonight to cancel the school auction. Our school relies heavily on this auction to fund many of the things that makeThornhill a wonderful place for our kids to learn. So, we are heartbroken to have to share this news, but it was made with the belief that the health and safety of all of our community is our paramount goal. Any steps we can take to better ensure the health of all of you, the parents who make Thornhill the special place it is, must be taken. And it is better to be safe than sorry.
You might be wondering what will happen to your auction ticket fees and the items that were to be available to bid for online and in person. It's no secret that the auction is one of the biggest fundraising events Thornhill puts on every year, and its proceeds are tremendously important when it comes to paying for many of the staff, services and programs that we have at Thornhill, and which OUSD does not cover. Our hope is that you will consider your ticket purchase a donation to your child's education, and even though that ticket won't get you into the auction, it will still give your child something unique every day at Thornhill.
As far as the auction items go...We are working on a method by which we will still soon hold an online auction involving many of the items you would have had the opportunity to bid on at the live auction. More details about this will come.
I can't apologize enough for the auction being canceled. However, these are strange times we are living in. If there had been any way to logically, and safely hold the auction, we would have done so. But, life sometimes throws you a curveball, and this is one that we certainly didn't see coming.
Finally, and I hope all of you will join me in this, I would like to thank our auction committee leader Becky Urbano. Becky has been involved in activities at Thornhill for several years. She didn't plan on taking on the challenge of pulling the auction together this year. But, when we--and by "we", I mean everyone at Thornhill--needed someone to make the auction happen, Becky took this project on with a degree of fortitude that I have rarely seen elsewhere. She worked tirelessly so that all of us could have a successful event that would benefit our school. We all owe her a debt of gratitude.