MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Madera County schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the county’s Superintendent of Schools.

The decision was made Thursday after guidance from county health officials and from state officials like Tony Thurmond, the California Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Madera County’s decision follows Fresno Unified School District’s decision to extend the closure of its campuses to the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

“It was stated that the need for safety through social distancing dictates that we continue to keep our school campuses closed to students during this pandemic,” said Superintendent Cecilia A. Massetti. “It would be impossible to maintain social distancing in the traditional school setting.”

She added that school districts in the county should be discouraged from sponsoring large gatherings to maintain social distancing.

Despite the campus closures, the superintendent said the education of Madera County students continues through distance learning, which is defined as the student and teacher engaging from two different locations.

Strategies for distance learning include printed materials for students to complete from home, to telecommunication interactions, to internet instruction and online resources.

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“As schools are rolling out different opportunities for students with home studies, the creativity and imagination of our community is remarkable,” Massetti said.

Madera County school districts are in the process of being surveyed for needs around technology devices and connectivity for students.

Massetti said county education officials are hopeful with the partnership announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday with Google that Madera County students will benefit from those resources.

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