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Ceres Unified will close schools to prevent coronavirus spread
Temporary closure begins next Thursday and runs through the end of Spring Break

All schools in Ceres Unified School District (CUSD) will be temporarily closed, from March 19 through April 17, because of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The decision was made Sunday afternoon after consulting with Stanislaus County school district superintendents.

CUSD, Hughson Unified, Modesto City Schools, Turlock Unified, Patterson Joint Unified, Sylvan Union and the 19 other school districts in the county will all shut down next week.

CUSD employees and families were notified via email and ParentSquare, respectively.

“San Joaquin County closed its schools last week,” Ceres Unified Assistant Superintendent Jay Simmonds said. “It was just a matter of time before it happened here. It’s a serious issue. It’s going to take drastic measures such as closing schools to stop the spread of the virus. She (Stanislaus County Public Health Officer Julie Vaishampayan) was included in the conversion and supports it.”

School district superintendents from throughout Stanislaus County met with Vaishampayan and Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Scott Kuykendall last Friday to discuss the next steps regarding the possibility of temporary school closures.

Vaishampayan issued guidance that all public schools remain open.

She based her recommendation on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the California Department of Public Health guidance, and up-to-date science and data.

“We’re all in agreement right now schools need to remain open,” CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel said on March 13. “We have to trust the advice of the person in charge of public health in Stanislaus County. We’ll be reviewing that decision as circumstances change. We’re making preparations if we have to suspend operations. We’ll be able to provide some services to students and families.”

CUSD will provide resources to ensure continuity of learning and nutrition for its students.

Breakfast and lunch pick-up will be available for K-12 students on a drive-through basis at the school they normally attend, weekdays between 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through April 9. A student under 18 years of age must be present in the vehicle to receive the meals.

Educational materials will be provided for students at all grade levels.  

“We intend to continue most high school classes online through Google Classroom, and have secured mobile hot spots that families of high school students without wi-fi may check out for home use,” CUSD stated in its coronavirus update notification to families. “These will be distributed in reverse grade level order, starting at 12th grade.  Additional information will be forthcoming through ParentSquare.  If there are enough additional hot spots to distribute to students in grades K-8, a notice will be sent to families … We understand the uncertainty families, staff, and our community may be feeling, and appreciate your partnership and support during this unprecedented time.  Preventive measures remain the best course for protecting health and limiting the spread of COVID-19.  We know there are likely to be questions, and we will continue to communicate through ParentSquare and update this webpage with new information and resources as we navigate this evolving situation.”

As of March 13, there were two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Stanislaus County. A total of 32 people had been tested as of March 12 and 21 of those individuals were waiting for results.

Effective March 16 through at least March 31, the Stanislaus County Public Health Officer prohibits the gathering of 1,000 or more people indoor and outdoor to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“There are times when the world gets very scary,” Siegel said. “We will get through this. It’s not going to be easy. There are going to be some difficulties. There will be an end to this and there will be better times on the other side.”