Public schools in Santa Monica and Malibu will close from at least Monday, Mar. 16 to Friday, Mar. 20 to contain the spread of coronavirus, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Supt. Ben Drati said Saturday.
The school board is meeting Monday to finalize the length of time schools will be closed and the district will notify families Tuesday. The closure includes SMMUSD childcare, preschools and adult school, as well as athletic activities and other events.
No cases of coronavirus have been confirmed at any SMMUSD campus. Drati previously said the district would close schools Friday, Mar. 13 and Monday, Mar. 16 after a community member with children in district schools was exposed to coronavirus and at least one other individual connected to local schools may have also been exposed. Campuses connected to the potential exposures include Franklin Elementary School, John Muir Elementary School and Santa Monica High School.
“The reason to close a school during a pandemic is to prevent the spread of illness, according to the Center for Disease Control,” Drati said in a statement. “During this closure we encourage both children and adults to follow social distancing recommendations.”
Public schools in Los Angeles and some private schools in Santa Monica, such as Crossroads School, will also close.
While SMMUSD schools are closed, free, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch will be offered for all students at Santa Monica High School, McKinley Elementary, Rogers Elementary in Santa Monica and Webster Elementary in Malibu, but children or adults who are sick are asked not to collect meals. Drati said the district will provide additional information regarding pick-up times and locations before Tuesday.
Drati said educators have developed materials and lessons for students and will be available during school hours for questions through email. Principals will communicate with parents where to pick up materials and how to access online learning.
Families with children in grades six through 12 are being asked to take a short survey regarding access to internet and availability of a device at home while school is closed.
“We appreciate parents letting us know if either is needed and our team will be in touch with you,” Drati said in a statement. “We want all students to continue learning during this closure.”
Parents of children with Individual Education Plans will receive information from their service providers as to the activities that are available to students, Drati said. The district will try to hold scheduled IEPs via phone.
Drati said the Mar. 19 school board meeting planned for Malibu has been moved to Santa Monica.
“We encourage people to watch the live stream,” he said. “We will have a survey link to provide public comment.”
Schools across California that close due to coronavirus will continue to receive funding, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.