Students Must Engage in Distance Learning as CHUSD Schools Remain Closed State

State Superintendent of School, Tony Thurmond sent communication to California’s 59 superintendents Tuesday to affirm Governor Gavin Newsom’s that school will be cancelled through June.

“Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing, it appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year,” wrote Thurmond.

In accordance with this declaration, Coalinga Huron Unified School District will not be opening for students in the classroom until Fall. Students will continue their education through distance learning which will take on more of a suggested structure in the days to come.

CHUSD Superintendent Lori Villanueva ran the school board meeting in the typical Board Room on the corner of Birch and Fifth Street in Coalinga. School Board members were connected via telephone. Members of the public were able to listen to the meeting on their computers or phones. Although there were some glitches with sound and noise disruption, the meeting progressed without much trouble.

Villanueva hopes to have one website set up for each school, and to run options for students through that one website. Principals are undergoing training on how to accomplish this and other distance learning skills to better help teachers at each site.

The district plans to equip every student with an Ipad which will be loaded with appropriate links for each grade and classroom.

CHUSD teachers and other staff are planning a car parade led by a Coalinga Police car and including a “big yellow school bus” on Friday, April 3 at 1:30 PM. They plan to meet in front of a school, and drive down the streets of Coalinga, honking and waving at students who might come out of their homes.

There was a resounding message from each board member as well as Villanueva.

“We know this is
unfair to our seniors.
You can be assured that we will be planning a worthy event
to take place
when all of this has cleared up.”

(Actual, numerous quotes will be added later)

Each person affirmed that this is very unfair to seniors who need to celebrate their 12 years of school and accomplishment. That matter was of utmost concern to everyone at the meeting.

Time missed due to the school closure does not have to made up. No student who was in good standing will be held back or penalized, according to Villanueva.

High school students who may need more credits will be urged to complete Cyber High work online. That information will be forthcoming.

The district plans to maintain close communication with families and students through email, letters, and phone calls.

California’s low number of infection with Covid-19 bear witness, said one board member, that social distancing is helping.

Villanueva praise staff for providing meals for students even though school is not in session.

“Last wednesday we passed out more than 10,000 meals,” said Villanueva, noting that the distribution included extra meals for the weekend. Food is being passed out twice weekly, with enough food to cover the five days of school each week. The initial daily distribution was trimmed to twice weekly at the urging of officials who want to minimize contact with other people.

CHUSD also received a grant for $50,000 from “No Kid hungry” to support the nutritional program.

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