All classes and programs within the Hemet, Murrieta Valley, Riverside and Temecula Valley unified school districts will cease as of Monday because of coronavirus concerns, while other school districts in Riverside County stepped up precautionary measures without immediate closures.
“This is a difficult decision, but necessary, as our nation tries to slow the spread of the virus,” according to an MVUSD statement. “These are uncharted waters, and we appreciate … understanding as we navigate through this situation.”
MVUSD officials said a “distance learning program” via the internet is under development, but there was no word on when it would be active. District Superintendent Patrick Kelley did not provide a specific date for reopening of the schools.
MVUSD temporarily shuttered Murrieta Valley High School on Monday after an employee who had traveled overseas returned to work ill and underwent testing for COVID-19. However, he was not infected, and the high school was back in operation Tuesday.
The TVUSD closures were announced almost immediately after neighboring MVUSD made its decision.
“Our plan is to resume school Monday, April 6th, depending on public health guidance and circumstances at that time,” TVUSD Superintendent Tim Ritter said. “Communications regarding distance learning opportunities for students will be forthcoming should the need to extend school closures beyond April 5 become a necessity.”
In an emergency session convened Friday afternoon, the Riverside Unified School District Board of Education and Superintendent David Hansen decided to shutter all schools and stop all student-related activities beginning Monday and continuing until April 3.
RUSD officials said that if there’s a need to extend the shutdown beyond that time, parents and guardians will be notified by March 27.
The Hemet Unified School District also decided Friday afternoon to close all schools starting Monday, continuing through spring break, with a prospective resumption of classes April 13.
“This closure is for precautionary measures, and currently there are no known cases of novel coronavirus in our district,” according to a HUSD statement. “These measures are to help slow the progression of the virus and protect our students, staff and community. HUSD will provide guidance early next week about supplementary resources, digital and non-digital, that can be used at home to review and reinforce knowledge and skills learned this school year. Students and families will not be required to use these resources but are welcome to do so.”
Other school districts countywide appeared to be in wait-and-see mode, with portals dedicated to COVID-19 updates indicating that precautions were in place but closures were not imminent.
In the Palm Springs Unified School District, field trips, athletics and extracurricular activities involving large gatherings are not going to be held, at least through the end of the month, officials said Thursday.
The neighboring Desert Sands Unified School also pulled the plug on outings, athletics, assemblies and performances that could draw crowds. Officials granted complete authority to parents or guardians to remove their children from school while countywide strategies to contain any potential spread of coronavirus continue. The kids will not be marked truant or chronically absent, according to the district.
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