Novel Coronavirus is now considered a pandemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Public gatherings are being canceled worldwide including concerts, sporting events, church meetings, and even school.
Though there have been no confirmed cases in the Eastern Sierra, that isn’t stopping officials from mulling over the idea of suspending school.
Inyo County Superintendent of Schools, Barry Simpson has been talking to the Inyo County Department of Public Health, to see what direction districts should be taking relating to the possible postponement of school.
Simpson said, “Canceling school is being discussed as a potential measure, but that action is not imminent right now.”
If a local case of COVID-19 is reported, that could obviously change the entire situation as far as measures taken by the Inyo County Office of Education. The superintendent added, “We will determine if there are cases in the area, and we will act accordingly.”
Any decision to cancel school will likely come via instruction from the Inyo County Department of Public Health. However, Simpson says a decision to close areas of education comes down to the individual school districts. “When it comes to closures, it happens locally by each school district, meaning Big Pine, Owens Valley, Bishop, and Lone Pine, superintendents have to make that choice. My job is to make sure everyone has the right information so the districts can act accordingly.”
Spring break is happening next week for students, and the Inyo County Superintendent has instructed district staffs to thoroughly clean all rooms at each school. “We are diligently cleaning schools right now, but the break will allow us to increase the cleaning of all our facilities.” Simpson told KIBS/KBOV News.
The county is also looking at ways to continue education if kids are prohibited from going to school. Though Simpson acknowledged that online education is not ideal due to some students not having access to internet, it that may be one of the only options available if students are forced to stay home.
Superintendent Simpson will meet with other district superintendents and public health officials on Thursday to discuss the next steps as coronavirus cases sweep through the world.