Parlier Unified School District became the first school district in the San Joaquin Valley to cancel classes due to a risk of coronavirus, joining scores of California universities to curtail or eliminate in-person classroom time.
The district announced cancellation after Fresno County Public Health officials went public with news that a Parlier Unified student travelled to an area of risk for coronavirus.
The student was considered “an extremely low risk.”
Parlier High principal George Alvarado distributed the following letter to families in the district:
Parlier High School is committed to ensuring the safety of all students. As reported earlier, there is no report of any student or staff being diagnosed with the coronavirus. Nevertheless, Parlier High School will be taking additional precautionary measures an the Parlier High School campus will be closed to students and staff for the remainder of this week. Parlier Unified staff will perform a thorough and deep cleaning of all surfaces in all rooms and buildings at Parlier High School to further ensure the health and safety of all students.
Classes will resume on Monday, March 16.
While Parlier stands alone among local school districts in cancelling classes, California universities have taken quick moves to mitigate risk of spreading coronavirus.
In a memo released on Tuesday, UC Davis strongly encouraged faculty to transition all classes to online only. Simultaneously, the university cancelled all in-person finals for the Winter Quarter, which were set to begin on March 16. UC Irvine is following a similar model – admonishing faculty to shift to online instruction and conducting final exams remotely.
UC Berkeley, meanwhile, suspended all courses through March 29. UCLA suspended in-person classes through April 10. USC announced online-only courses would continue through at least March 29.
Despite many of the UC campuses reducing or eliminating in-person instruction, Fresno State has yet to a shift instruction to online-only forms.
A guidance issued by President Joseph Castro on Tuesday afternoon noted that the university was “developing Contingency Instruction Plans, including the possibility of moving to virtual instruction for some or all lectures…” with the Academic Senate and other university stakeholders.