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MBUSD Schools To Remain Closed Through June

May 07, 2020 09:53AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Manhattan Beach Unified School District's Board of Trustees agreed at its May 6 meeting to keep the schools physically closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

Board members had held out hope as long as possible that there might be a chance to re-open the schools by June. Last month, they agreed to keep schools physically closed "until further notice" as a way of taking a wait-and-see approach given the uncertainties of the coronavirus restrictions. 

However, on Wednesday night, board members agreed that it would essentially impossible to re-open the schools given the current recommendations on social distancing and safety requirements. 

"The recommendations right now are for no mass gatherings. But schools are mass gatherings," said MBUSD Superintendent Mike Matthews. 

Matthews added that under the current L.A. County Health Department guidelines, there would be no more than seven or eight students allowed in a classroom at a time.

"I just don’t see a way for us to do that," he said. "The way the county is outlining it right now, there are more remote options than in-person options."

Board members agreed with his assessment.

"I am confident that there’s no way we can reopen and have it be safe...I’m not willing to put children or their families at risk," said board member Sally Peel.

Peel, who has a graduating senior this year, added sincere regrets that students would not have a chance to say goodbye to each other or their teachers in person. At the same time, she said, the board had to do what was best for the health of students, staff, and their families.

Graduation Plans Uncertain

Graduation plans for Mira Costa seniors are still up in the air, although a variety of ideas have been floated.

Matthews said that there is a chance that some sort of socially distanced or virtual event could happen; if not on the original date of June 11, then possibly in July or even August.

The district was continuing to consider all options, he said. "We know our kids want to see each other, and want to get a chance to throw their hats up in the air."

Board President Jennifer Cochran noted that there were seeming contradictions between state and county policy about "opening up" that was making planning more complicated.

"Things are literally changing daily. I don’t think that we know exactly what the rules and regulations are going to be," she said.

Her message to Mira Costa seniors? "Stay flexible."

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