The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board directed Superintendent Wendy Sinnette to shut down all of its schools Friday because of the coronavirus threat.
The action was taken at a special meeting of the board on Thursday night with another meeting scheduled to review the decision next Thursday.
Teachers and staff members will be on site today for parents and children to obtain their items as well as to answer questions. Students will not report today through Monday, March 23. Teachers and staff will also prepare further materials to be sent home to students via distance learning.
“(Today) is a stop gap,” Sinnette said before the decision was made. “Classes would not be in session in the traditional manner. Classes would be open, a facility for parents who are in a tight situation because it’s now 8 p.m.,” Sinnette said.
The Los Angeles Unified School District also made the decision to close its schools but will start on Monday, according to a news release from the district.
“The public health crisis created by the coronavirus is not something any of us could reasonably have expected to happen, and we’re in uncharted waters as we work to prevent the spread of the illness,” according to the release. “We are now at a point where the balance has shifted and the appropriate path is to close schools. We are taking this step to keep our school communities safe. Effective Monday, March 16, we will close all Los Angeles Unified public schools for two weeks while we evaluate the appropriate path forward.”
On Tuesday night in La Cañada, governing board president Joe Radabaugh asked board members to determine when the schools should close and how long they should close.
“I think we all need to do something because it’s imminent we’re going to close,” Radabaugh said.
In a letter to the community on Thursday night, Sinnette said the IRC on the LCHS campus would be open from 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. with supervision and students could spend the instructional day there.
“At all of our school sites, classrooms will be open during the school day for students/parents to pick up materials and belongings in preparation for the 7 school day closure,” Sinnette wrote.
There are no current cases of coronavirus reported within the district, Sinnette’s letter said, and “the decision was not made lightly and we recognize that it will introduce some hardships for many of our families.”
The district remains in communication with local and state officials and will give regular updates to families, teachers, staff and work to be “as agile and responsive” in decision making, according to the letter.
“This latest decision has been made in an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our school district community and with an eye towards sharing responsibility with the broader community to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus,” the letter states.
Next week, the district office will remain open to support families and staff and answer questions and provide resources as able, according to the letter. Maintenance and custodial staff will report to the school sites next week to clean and sterilize our classrooms and offices.
“Please check the LCUSD website regularly for health updates during this time,” Sinnette said. “I will notify families and staff on Thursday, March 19 regarding the status of schools and whether to anticipate schools re-opening after March 23, 2020.”
School site principals will send follow up emails and the LCUSD technology department will also provide guidance.
Teachers’ instructional planning will take place today and Monday, March 16 with “distance learning” for students starting on Tuesday.
As a transitional day today, Child Education Center child care schedules will be maintained for currently enrolled families according to their assigned schedules, according to Sinnette’s note.