Education · Fresno

Fresno Unified to close campuses over coronavirus

Fresno Unified – the state’s fourth largest school district – announced it will close campuses in response to coronavirus, likely ahead of a major announcement from regional school districts.

Fresno Unified joins major California school districts in southern California – Los Angeles Unified, Long Beach Unified, and San Diego Unified – in cancelling classes heading into spring break.

Fresno Unified will close all of its campuses beginning Monday and are likely to reopen them on April 16, after the district was planning to conclude Spring Break.

Fresno Unified will close all of its campuses beginning Monday through April 13, after the district was planning to conclude Spring Break.

Fresno Unified trustee Terry Slatic told The Sun that the district spent much of Friday weighing its options much of the day, eventually polling trustees on action to close campuses.

Initially, shortly after The Sun broke the news, Fresno Unified spokeswoman Vanessa Ramirez denied that the district was planning to close schools.

Yet, a message relayed from Superintendent Bob Nelson to Fresno Unified trustees confirmed a 3 p.m. press conference and noted that all other Fresno and Madera County school districts are set to shutter operations following Fresno Unified’s press conference.

“We have reason to believe Covid 19 cases are going to come out of Valley children’s and we do not want to be open when that occurs,” Nelson’s relayed message said.

Valley Children’s spokeswoman Zara Arboleda told The Sun that the Madera County hospital currently has no confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Thursday, during a press conference with Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino, Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson cautioned against a sudden move to close schools.

“Quite honestly, the health department has identified one case of COVID-19 in Fresno County. One,” Nelson said. “Indiscriminately closing schools without any thought to what the health professionals are saying in the valley would be an irresponsible choice.”

This story has been updated. See the full list of school districts closing due to coronavirus.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.