Central Coast school districts on Friday announced closures to prevent coronavirus transmission.
Atascadero, Lucia Mar, Paso Robles and San Luis Coastal school districts all announced school closures to begin Monday. The length of the closures varies by district.
In a statement Friday afternoon, San Luis Obispo County Superintendent of Schools Jim Brescia said the rapid spread of COVID-19 “has caused anxiety in our schools and community.”
“While local health officials have yet to confirm any local cases, we do not know how this will ultimately impact our county,” Brescia said. “Simply put, we are in uncharted waters, and the time has come to hit the pause button until we know more.”
Brescia announced 13 local districts have taken, or will take, action to close schools as of Friday.
In a press conference Friday morning, San Luis Obispo County Public Health officer Penny Borenstein said she did not advise for school closures at that time. Soon after Santa Barbara County announced Friday morning that all its schools will close through next week, local school districts began to announce emergency meetings to address closures.
Cuesta College also announced Friday it would suspend classes and move to online education.
Here’s a roundup of which San Luis Obispo County school districts have announced closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Atascadero Unified School District
Atascadero schools will shut down beginning on Monday and remain closed through March 31, according to a letter Superintendent Tom Butler sent to the Atascadero Unified School District community and posted on the district’s website.
The district’s local recess will be observed on March 16, and spring break will moved up to take place March 24 through March 31.
The closures apply to all district extracurricular activities, including athletics, performing arts and student clubs, the letter says.
“We live in a wonderful community, and we are so proud of the incredible student learning taking place in all of our schools,” Butler wrote. “At this time, the health, well-being, and safety of our students, staff, and community are our number one priority.”
Coast Unified School District
Coast Unified School District will close Monday through March 20, and spring break has been moved up two weeks to March 23 through March 30, according to a notice sent to parents Friday afternoon.
The district says it tentatively plans to reopen schools on March 31.
It will continue to run its food assistance program during the closure, but not during spring break, according to the notice. Student meals can be picked up daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Coast Union High School cafeteria. All meals will be provided “to go.”
“We are committed to providing for student and family needs during these challenging times,” Superintendent Scott Smith said in the notice. “Together, we will weather this storm.”
Lucia Mar Unified School District
The south San Luis Obispo County school district announced it will close all Lucia Mar schools starting Monday through March 27.
“The health and well-being of our students and staff are extremely important to us in Lucia Mar,” read a release from the district on Friday.
The closure includes all Lucia Mar preschool programs, before and after programs and adult education.
The district is working with partner child care providers to offer options and will share that info as it becomes available. The district hopes to reopen on March 30, but that would depend on “circumstances at the time,” according to the release.
The district will provide meals for students, at no cost, during the closure at a number of school sites.
According to the release, the students must be present in order for the meals to be provided.
They will be served 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday in the parking lot or bus lane at each participating school, according to the release. A drive-thru option will also be available.
The city of Arroyo Grande announced it will cancel its Children in Motion before and after school programs starting Monday, in conjunction with Lucia Mar’s closures.
Paso Robles Joint Unified School District
Paso Robles Joint Unified School District will close all schools starting Monday through April 13, according to a note sent to staff on Friday afternoon.
Officials opted to change the school calendar and shift the district’s spring break to April 3 to 10.
Administrators and school board trustees will evaluate the need for the closure at the next meeting on March 24.
The closure is “comprehensive” and includes all extracurricular activities, including athletics, performing arts and student clubs, according to a letter from Superintendent Curt Dubost the district posted on Facebook.
“At this time the health, well-being, and safety of our students, staff, and community are the number one priority,” Dubost wrote. “The above decisions have been made with a great sense of care and thoughtfulness. We will continue to keep our school community updated on the status of our school closures and the next steps. We will be providing meals and classroom packets to students.”
Dubost said follow-up details will be provided on Monday.
San Luis Coastal Unified School District
San Luis Coastal Unified School District will close all its schools starting Monday through April 14.
“Over the last several weeks, San Luis Coastal has approached this fast-moving target with a calm and measured response, relying on public health experts to determine each step,” San Luis Coastal Superintendent Eric Prater said in an email to parents Friday. “We have now come to an unprecedented moment in our district’s history.”
According to the letter, the Family Resource Centers will be open to assist families in need of essential services throughout the closure. The FRC can be reached at 805-458-5499 for San Luis Obispo or 805-235-6610 for the coast.
Prater said the district is determined to provide ongoing education for district students via online resources. Principals and teachers will take next week to “design virtual learning opportunities” for their students, he said.
The city of San Luis Obispo also announced it will suspend its before and after school care programs during the duration of the San Luis Coastal district closure.
“The city understands the value and need for these services in the community, but our top priority is the health and safety of the children participating, families, program staff and our community,” read a city news release Friday evening. “We are currently reviewing potential alternatives and resources available to fill this important need in our community.”
In his Friday afternoon statement, Brescia noted the other districts that have taken or will take governing board action to close schools are: Almond Acres Charter, Pleasant Valley Join Union Elementary, San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, Shandon Joint Unified and Templeton Unified. These districts will be added to the larger list once details on their expected closures are confirmed.