Riverside County officials Thursday announced all schools will remain shuttered until June 19 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The move effectively closes schools through the end of the academic school year, although it remains unclear if individual school districts will adjust their schedules in the future.
“After consultation with the districts and the County Office of Education, I unfortunately believe the safest option is to keep the schools closed through the end of the school year,” said county Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser. “I know this situation is stressful for schools, students and parents alike, and I appreciate everyone’s understanding during this difficult time.”
Last month, Kaiser ordered all schools — which include public and private schools, colleges and universities — closed until April 30. Thursday’s announcement extends that date to June 19.
While Kaiser’s order bars schools from opening up to students until that date, it doesn’t preclude school districts from adjusting their calendars to extend their academic years into the summer.
Craig Petinak, spokesman for the Office of the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, told City News Service that it’s up to individual districts to adjust their calendars.
But Petinak said that the Riverside County Office of Education does not plan to extend the school years for the programs overseen at the county level, which include alternative programs such as court school for students in juvenile hall.
“Instead, we are focused on providing digital learning solutions to continue education through the remainder of the current school year,” he said.
On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted that schools statewide might be closed for the remainder of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but stopped short of issuing an executive order making it a requirement.