For several weeks, we have been in regular contact with the LA County Department of Public Health (LADPH) and the LA County Office of Education (LACOE) as we tracked the progress of COVID-19. Per their recommendations, we initiated progressively restrictive precautionary steps to slow/stop the spread of the disease. Last night’s memo followed directly from a new list of directives that were shared with us only yesterday morning. At that time, LACOE’s specific recommendation was not to close schools unless directed to do so by the Health Department.
This morning that situation changed swiftly and dramatically. First, LA Unified, the State’s largest school district, conducted an emergency meeting and announced its imminent closure. Next, LACOE convened a virtual meeting of the 80 Superintendents in the county and recommended the closure of all schools. Once we received that word, we immediately began taking steps to implement the Count Office of Education’s recommendation.
All District schools will now be closed from Monday, March 16th through Friday, April 3rd. The following week of April 6th - April 10th is our previously scheduled Spring Break. Unless events dictate otherwise, students should expect to return to campus on Monday, April 13th.
We have anticipated this potential outcome for some time and have been planning behind the scenes for student learning to continue through the use of Google Classroom online. Your student is likely familiar with this resource as many teachers already use it as an effective teaching tool. If not, please have your student reach out to a teacher for better understanding. Monday and Tuesday of next week have been set aside as time for teachers and students to connect in this new format and to iron out some of the many challenges that will arise from such a rapid transition. Expect additional assistance and direction in the coming days. Wednesday is the day students should plan to begin this temporary period of distance learning.
This closure is in support of the recommendations from public health officials to encourage “social distancing” to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. Therefore, we recommend that students stay home during the closure as much as possible and avoid gathering in public places. In addition, we can maximize the effectiveness of these efforts by reinforcing these simple preventative measures:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Get vaccinated for the flu.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time of uncertainty. We do not make these decisions lightly as we know they have a significant impact on our families and our community.
I wish you a safe and healthy weekend,
William S. Hart Union High School District