Coronavirus impact: 6 Bay Area counties extend school campus closures through end of academic year

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Superintendent Tony Thurmond held a town hall to provide an update on California schools amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Students face digital divide as schools turn to remote learning amid COVID-19 outbreak - interactive

It's been almost 4 weeks since schools around the state have closed and Thurmond emphasized that just because campuses are closed, class is still in session. He addressed distance learning and how the state is working to address the digital divide for students who may not have access to the internet or laptops.

Google committed to making hotspot and Chrome Books available for students statewide and the superintendent urged for companies to partner with California schools to donate money or technology by emailing donatetech@cde.ca.gov.

Weekly educational webinars have also been made available as resoources for educators. This week's webinars are on how to deliver special education and English learning. Resources can be found on the California Department of Education's website here.

When asked what the state was doing for students' mental health, Thurmond reassured they are trying to mobilize resources to support students by remote and distanced-calls.

"We know many (students) are going without mental health support," He added. "Students miss the routine of school, students miss their teachers, teachers miss their students. This adds stress"

Thurmond ended his virtual town hall with a message to the class of 2020.

"We understand it's difficult, we understand it's disappointing for those who are supposed to be in a graduation procession in May or June," Thurmond said. "Quite frankly we just don't know when it will be safe enough for our shelter-in-place, stay-at-home orders to be lifted, the best thing we can do to is to practice maximum social distancing."

WATCH: Superintendent Tony Thurmond's message to the class of 2020
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Superintendent Tony Thurmond gave a message to the class of 2020 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.



Earlier, Six Bay Area counties officially announced that school campuses will not be reopening this academic year, following guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19.

RELATED: Get the latest live updates on coronavirus crisis

In a joint press release, superintendents along with public health officers said schools will continue to transition to at-home, distance learning formats. School leaders will continue to use campus facilities to distribute school meals and provide childcare as determined by local needs.

The counties that will not reopen school campuses this 2019-2020 year include: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Francisco County.

SFUSD said on Twitter that schools will start teacher-led learning on April 13.


RELATED: Coronavirus Impact: School, university closures related to COVID-19 in San Francisco Bay Area

After recently announcing campuses would remain closed for in-person learning until May 1, Bay Area counties took action to review their closure timelines following last Wednesday's statements from Gov. Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond that California students would not likely be able to return to campus for school this 2019-2020 year.

RELATED: California schools closed through end of academic year, Gov. Newsom says

"The decision to further extend closures is critical for maintaining social distancing and protecting the health and safety of all San Mateo County and Bay Area residents," explained San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow. "We will continue to work closely with school leaders and adjust our orders and guidance once the data reflects that we've significantly stemmed the spread of COVID-19."

The decision to not reopen schools comes as local health officials continue to monitor safety guidelines and shelter-in-place orders. Local officials are now recommending that residents wear face coverings when out in public require all essential businesses to post social distancing protocols.

MAINTAIN LEARNING: Free educational resources for kids stuck at home during COVID-19

"The decision to extend the campus closure dates throughout the Bay Area was made jointly with Public Health Officials, district superintendents and County Superintendents in the Bay Area region. While campuses cannot reopen this academic year, the 2019-2020 school year has not ended. The remainder of the school year will be focused on continuing education support for students through distance learning options as described by The California Department of Education (CDE). By doing so, we can do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community as the health and well-being of our students, families, and staff remain our top priority, "said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools.

There are 6.2 million students in California and


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