CHUSD makes school closure revision

As a community, we are working together to address the impacts of COVID-19 to our students and families, and keeping in mind the larger workforce population that provide services to the schools. There are questions that arise every day and we are very fortunate that the agencies in Madera County are communicating and offering assistance to each other for the benefit of the community at large.

On March 13, the Madera County Department of Public Health, the Madera County Superintendent of Schools, and the nine district superintendents from Alview Dairyland, Bass Lake, Chawanakee Unified, Chowchilla Elementary, Chowchilla High School, Golden Valley Unified, Madera Unified, Raymond Knowles and Yosemite Unified agreed:

“As Fresno and Madera counties function in many ways as a shared population, the Madera County Health Officer, Department of Public Health and the Superintendents of Madera County public school districts have come to consensus that it is best to close public schools in Madera County. School closure is effective immediately.”

On March 19, Madera county Health Officer Dr. Eric Sergienko issued two orders as guidance for our community.

• The first order, titled “Health Officer’s Order to Cancel, Postpone, or Modify Large Scale Events or Mass Gatherings, and to Close All Bars, Nightclubs, Gyms and Theaters, and to Modify Dining Facilities Services within Madera County.” It further states, “This Order applies to the timeframe as recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, from today’s date (March 19) until April 30. The California Department of Public Health and CDC may recommend further extensions of their proposed end date.”

• The second order, titled, “Health Officer’s Order to Monitor, Test, and Treat Febrile Respiratory Illness for Health Care Providers, Employers, Residents,” “Effective 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, and continuing until Thursday, April 30, the following will be in effect for Madera County — all residents shall:

i. Self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19,

ii. Isolate themselves if they have signs and symptoms and should they not require further medical attention for seven days after the onset of symptoms.”

On March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 “… order all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors…” The Shelter-in-place order does not have an end date.

MCDPH is working closely with agencies to investigate and trace close contacts of confirmed cases. Currently, once an individual is identified, all contacts are quarantined and symptomatic individuals are isolated and tested.

The temporary closure of the schools in Madera County has been an effort to slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19. Although everyone is anxious to return to normal routines and get school back in session, these uncertain times need us to err on the side of caution.

On Wednesday, MCDPH and the school districts engaged in lengthy discussions around reopening schools and the health and well-being of our students, families and staff. The consensus at this time is that the districts extend current school closures through May 1 to continue to help mitigate the community transmission of COVID-19 and do our part to flatten the transmission curve.

With continuing consultation and review of the COVID-19 situation and guidance from MCDPH, the schools will reevaluate the possibility of reopening May 4. The reopening of schools will be based on both safety conditions and the current information available from local, state and federal officials at that time.

For now, stay home, stay well, and stay connected. Only go out for essential business. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Cover your cough and sneezes. Sanitize your surroundings. Check on your family and friends be call, text or email. Let’s all do our part to protect our community.

— Ronald V. Seals,

Superintendent

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