By Kris Paul
The CoronaVirus, also known by its official name Covid-19, has been detected in California, with an especially concerning development of 12 cases now having tested positive in Tulare County. Guidelines and recommendations on hand washing, and social events, have been issued and they have since closed many businesses, cancelled or postponed social gatherings, and affected schools in the Visalia Unified School District, including Ivanhoe Elementary School.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have proposed many conditions to help prevent further spread of the virus, including washing your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, and that people avoid gatherings of more than 10 people at a time. Schools are most definitely affected by all of these guidelines, in ways that have caused leaders to effectively shut down all schools in the state, possibly until the next school year, leaving many parents wondering what is going to happen to their children’s education.
Students may be rejoicing over this decision, but they are not completely in the clear. The push for more technology in the classroom may have a dampening effect on their elation, because it appears that school leaders are searching for ways to still deliver quality education, as directed by California’s Governor Newsom.
Most schools are operating on a skeleton staff, with most working from home. Visalia Unified School District required administrative staffs to report for work Monday, March 16th, and Tuesday March 17th, to help support students and parents calling the schools with questions, and to ensure that students who did show up were able to make it home safely, but were informed to then work from home after that point.
Yolanda Monsivaiz, Assistant Principal at Sequoia High School, says that Visalia Unified has communicated that the priority of the district is “students/family/staff health, food services for students, and accessible curriculum materials for students”, many of whom live in the Ivanhoe community.
Visalia Unified is unfortunately not one-to-one at this time, meaning that students are not issued an electronic device for school work, so teachers and staff are preparing packets with materials for students to continue their education while schools are closed for the foreseeable future, much of it containing enrichment and review work. Meals for students of Visalia Unified are also being provided at Ivanhoe Elementary weekdays from 11:30 to 12:30, and at regular bus stops for 4 hours after the regular pickup time, at this time, they are scheduled to continue from March 18th-April 3rd, but with the fluid situation this may be subject to change.
Parents and students can find more information on the Visalia Unified School Districts website (https://www.vusd.org) and social media pages run by the district.