Ceres Unified School District announced on Thursday that school closures will be extended through May 1 to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The decision was made in collaboration with the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Stanislaus County Public Health Department, and 24 other school districts in the county.
“This is uncharted territory,” Ceres Unified Assistant Superintendent Jay Simmonds said.
All public schools in Stanislaus County were slated to be temporarily closed through April 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 prompted the extended shutdown.
There were 31 confirmed cases in Stanislaus County as of Monday.
When public schools closed on March 19, just two people tested positive.
“We recognize the significant impact extending school closure will have on our entire community, students, families, and staff,” Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Superintendent Scott Kuykendall said in a COVID-19 Update press release. “This is unprecedented. We acknowledge the anxiety this may cause our students, especially our seniors who are focused on graduation and those students who depend on SPS In-district Special Education for critical services. We also recognize the burden this will place on our staff and working families. This is a challenging time for our community and we are committed to working with you in the best interest of our students and staff.”
Breakfast and lunch pick-up will be available for Ceres Unified K-12 students on a drive-through basis, weekdays between 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., through May 1.
A student under 18 years of age must be present in the vehicle to receive the meals.
Meals will be handed out during Spring Break (April 13-17) at Central Valley High School, Ceres High and Virginia Parks Elementary.
Food will not be available for pick-up on April 10, which is a holiday.
Educational materials will continue to be provided to students at all grade levels.
All athletic events, effective March 16, were suspended until further notice.
Students are scheduled to return to their respective campuses on May 4.
“That’s the plan as of right now,” Simmonds said. “It could change if the situation doesn’t get better. We will do whatever it takes to protect the public. It’s a necessity.”
“School administrators across Stanislaus County appreciate the proactive illness prevention steps that our families and staff have taken,” Kuykendall added. “We encourage you to continue washing hands for 20 seconds, cough or sneeze into your sleeve and stay at home if possible. If you need to go out, please practice “Social Distancing” by remaining at least 6 feet away from others.”