Central Unified extending school closure to May amid coronavirus outbreak

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Central Unified School District has decided to extend the closure of its schools to at least Friday, May 1, as concerns surrounding COVID-19 continue.

The school district initially planned on having students come back to school on April 20, after spring break.

But board members met via teleconference on Thursday and voted on the extension of their district-wide closure.

Their decision means that May 4, Monday, is the earliest that schools will reopen.

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Central Unified superintendent Andrew Alvarado said they want to be proactive as they are expecting positive tests to spike as they become available.

"It's a tough decision because I know our kids want to come back to school, our teachers want to come back to school. (But) our main priority is for the safety of not only our community but for the community at large," he said.

Central Unified is home to almost 16,000 students across 23 schools.

That's on top of almost 2,000 employees who have taken these campus closures in stride, putting curriculum online and continuing their food program.

31 other districts in Fresno County are faced with the same decision.

Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino said educators are working tirelessly to make sure students know they're not forgotten.

As he fought back tears, Yovino described the modifications made daily to continue their students' learning.

"You've got teachers showing up in their vans to bring bag lunches to kids in our rural communities. It's not only inspiring, it's hopeful, it's giving kids a sense that people care about them."

Yovino said support is being offered on the federal, state, and local levels.

He added that because the situation is fluid, they'll be monitoring with the guidance of the Fresno County Health Department.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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