FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) — The Fresno Teachers Association is asking Fresno Unified School District to close schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic — which President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency.
“The Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health crisis. While there are no identified or known cases connected to Fresno Unified Schools, due to the nature of the exponential spread of the virus, it’s time for leaders to take proactive measures to mitigate the potential negative impact on our community and our healthcare system,” said Manuel Bonilla, president of the Fresno Teachers Association. “Therefore, in an effort to protect the health and well-being of our students, educators, and our community, the Fresno Teachers Association is calling on FUSD Supt. Bob Nelson to close all schools in the Fresno Unified School District.”
“After much deliberation and weighing the impact of school closures vs. the potential health risks, we believe that school closures are the best course of action,” Bonilla said. “This will undoubtedly cause some anxiety in our community regarding food security and child care. That’s why we are also calling on the district to work with FTA leadership through the weekend to establish a breakfast and lunch food distribution plan for our students. In addition, we are asking for a coordinated response from district, city, county, and state leaders, to communicate to the public how they may apply for state unemployment benefits or disability benefits during this closure.”
At a press conference Thursday, Nelson said Fresno Unified would remain open.
In a letter to parents and staff, the Diocese of Fresno’s Superintendent of Catholic Schools announced the closing of its schools for two weeks starting Monday.
Fresno Unified — nor Clovis Unified or Central Unified — have made additional statements since Thursday.