SAN DIEGO — San Diego Unified School District will close its campuses to in-person instruction next week in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.
SDUSD will be joined by Los Angeles Unified School District in the decision, making the two largest districts in California — serving 750,000 students — temporarily shut down as officials monitor the virus’ spread.
The decision will go into effect starting Monday, March 16 and last until at least April 6, at which point the administration will re-evaluate, SDUSD said in a statement. School remained in session Friday, though officials had said parents would not face “retribution” if they kept their kids home.
San Diego public schools had received pressure from parents and the teachers union to close campuses after releasing an initial plan which added precautions but stopped short of ending all on-campus activities.
“California has now entered a critical new phase in the fight to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic,” a joint statement from the SDUSD and LAUSD superintendents read.
“There is evidence the virus is already present in the communities we serve, and our efforts now must be aimed at preventing its spread. We believe closing the state’s two largest school districts will make an important contribution to this effort.
“Later today, we will be providing students, parents and staff with more information on our plans to continue providing learning opportunities for students during the closure. We have also directed staff at both districts to prepare to continue providing nutrition and other supports through family resource facilities.”
In its original plan, the district said that a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture would allow schools to continue providing food for students who typically rely on school for meals.
Beginning Monday, San Diego Unified Food and Nutrition Services will hand out free, prepared meals at eight locations to its students.
Drive-through and walk-up distribution will take place between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at eight locations across San Diego. Children must be present to receive meals and can take one lunch and one breakfast for the next day. All food must be taken and consumed offsite, according to the district.
The district also highlighted a “Continuity of Learning” plan, which would focus on providing “equitable access” to learning materials that kids can use at home to continue their studies.
FOX 5 has reached out to the district for more details on the services schools can still provide to families while campuses are closed.
The decision to shut down in-person instruction was a unanimous decision for both districts’ boards, officials said.
FOX 5 has compiled a list of local school districts closing on Monday. View that and other updates here.