MUSD classes resume — online

16,000 Chromebooks, 120,000 meals going out this week

Madera Unified teachers and students returned to their virtual classrooms Tuesday after Spring break without leaving home. In accordance with a school board order issued at a special meeting April 7, trustees voted to follow the directions of Governor Gavin Newsom to close Madera Unified campuses for the remainder of the school year and to replace classroom instruction in brick and mortar schools with distance learning through the internet. As a result, distribution of 16,000 Chromebooks to Madera Unified students will begin this week.

According to Superintendent Todd Lile, “a massive effort has also been underway to get broadband Internet for all of our families who don’t have it and ‘hotspots’ to connect for those in remote areas.”

In addition to making distance learning possible for all of the students, the district is pressing forward to meet their nutritional needs as well. On Monday, preparation began on 12,000 meal kits, each of which contained 10 meals for a total of 120,000 meals—each with milk or juice.

The meal kits began going out from the 18 elementary schools Tuesday, according to federal guidelines, to feed all children ages 1-18 regardless of whether they attend MUSD schools.

In addition to extending the closing of schools through June 5, the board continued its authorization for Superintendent Todd Lile to “take all appropriate actions to address the threat of and respond to COVID-19, including but not limited to, supporting educational opportunities for district students to the extent feasible as well as other matters set forth in Governor Newsom’s various executive orders….”

Madera Unified is also working on a program called “Student Care Check-ins.” Through this effort, the staff will connect with students and parents once a week through phone or video conferences to determine whether they have needs that can be provided by the school district.

The district has also expressed concern for the graduating seniors and a commitment to celebrate their accomplishments. School administrators are working with the state on guidelines that have been issued from Sacramento and will keep the public informed regarding the status of graduating seniors.

The district’s communication department issued the following community message. “Madera Unified wants to acknowledge how challenging these times are for everyone. Every day, we wake up to new information about how best to live, work, and cope during an evolving, global pandemic crisis. Thank you for your patience and support during this extraordinary time of uncertainty as we navigate our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.”