Editor’s note: All of The Mendocino Voice’s reporting, including our coronavirus coverage, is free because we believe in providing useful info to our entire community. We do not have paywalls, meaning we depend on our members even more. Please consider supporting our coverage by becoming a member here; you can also make a one time lump sum contribution at our PayPal page here. We rely on these generous members to be able to keep informing everyone. Find our most recent coverage here.
Updated 4: 45 p.m.: The post has been updated to include a press release from MCOE confirming the county-wide closure.
MENDOCINO Co., 3/30/20 — School districts across Mendocino County have been on “modified instruction,” with students working from home, since at least March 17 in order to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and today that closure has been extended through at least May 1, 2020. Several schools districts, including Ukiah Unified and Willits Unified, announced the closure in Facebook posts on Monday afternoon, saying the county-wide change was occurring in consultation with the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) and public health officials. Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins could not be immediately reached for comment, but MCOE issued a press release around 4 p.m. confirming the county-wide closure (see below).
After several school districts announced closures in mid-March, Mendocino County school districts switched to remote learning county-wide, with many districts having students come in weekly or every other week for educational packets. School districts across the Bay Area enacted similar extensions over the last several days, and Mendocino County public health officials have previously stated that county school district policies are likely to follow the lead of Bay Area officials. The state of California has also enacted a number of policy changes.
More information about the initial switch to remote education can be found in this article. Individual school districts across the county have been coordinating distributing school meals and remote learning differently — here’s more information from the MCOE website. Here’s the announcement sent by MCOE around 4 p.m., followed by the Facebook post from around 3 p.m. on Facebook by Ukiah Unified:
Schools Extend Modified Learning Through May 1
MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA – In accordance with the Mendocino County Public Health Department’s March 24 order extending shelter-in-place “until further notice,” the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) and local public school districts have extended modified or “remote” learning through May 1. Consequently, school facilities shall remain closed to students for in-person classroom instruction through that time. As the situation evolves, local education leaders will reassess to see whether the May 1 date should be extended further. As of now, high school graduation dates remain in place countywide.
County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins said, “We are proud of our teachers and administrators who have risen to the challenge of radically altering how they provide instruction, providing modified education to students at home with little notice. We also deeply appreciate the classified staff who are keeping students fed and facilities disinfected.
This is hard for everyone. Many teachers are balancing the need to care for their own children while they figure out how to provide students with educational materials so students can remain engaged in learning. Parents are juggling their children’s needs with their family’s economic realities. And students are trying to adjust to a new landscape full of uncertainty,” she said. “We all need to be patient with one another and figure this out together.”
For details about modified learning schedules, meal delivery, access to educational material, and more, contact your local school district.
Post from Ukiah Unified:
We will be messaging this to you via e-mail, text and phone in the next hour:
In consultation with Mendocino County Public Health and the Mendocino County Office of Education, I am saddened to report that all Mendocino County School Districts, including Ukiah Unified, will be extending remote learning through May 1. We have every intention of returning our students back to school as soon as it is safe. We will continue to monitor the situation and re-evaluate in the comingweeks and will inform you as soon as possible of any changes to remote learning.
I also want to remind everyone that the next meal delivery and pickup will be Friday, April 3. At that time, we will be giving out breakfast, lunch, and supper for the 6 days we are out for Spring Break. Please visit www.uusd.net and click on the link next to the bright yellow school bus to see the times and locations of stops. In addition to the bus stops listed, we will be serving at Ukiah Unified school sites and Hopland Elementary from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3 as well. If you can try as much as possible to go to the same location each time, it helps us plan better for how much is needed at each location.
Thank you so much for all you are doing to support your students at home – we are doing everything we can to continue to support our students academically and with food. As always, please call or email us with any questions or concerns.
Para avisarles que, después de consultar con el departamento de Salud Pública y la Oficina de Educación del Condado de Mendocino, debemos informarles que todos los distritos escolares del Condado de Mendocino van a extender el aprendizaje remoto hasta el primero de mayo. Tenemos toda intención de que nuestros estudiantes regresen a la escuela tan pronto como sea posible cuando no haya peligro. Seguiremos controlando la situación y en las próximas semanas les informaremos lo más tan pronto posible los cambios en el aprendizaje remoto.
También queremos recordarles que la próxima distribución de comidas es el viernes, 3 de abril. Ese día vamos a entregar desayuno, almuerzo y cena para los 6 días de vacaciones de primavera. Visiten www.uusd.net y hagan clic en el enlace al lado del autobús amarillo donde se encuentran los horarios y las paradas. Además de las paradas de los autobuses, vamos a distribuir comidas en las escuelas del distrito y en Hopland Elementary de las 11 de la mañana a la 1 de la tarde. Si pueden ir al mismo lugar cada vez, nos ayudará a planear mejor la cantidad de comidas que necesitamos.
Gracias por todo lo que están haciendo para apoyar a sus niños en casa: estamos haciendo todo lo que podemos para apoyarlos académicamente y con algo de comida. Como siempre, nos pueden llamar o enviar correos electrónicos si tienen alguna pregunta.