Food will continue to be provided for anyone under the age of 18 despite the closures via a drive-thru system
PASO ROBLES — In an emergency meeting Friday, the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District board of trustees voted 7-0 to close all schools in the district in the face of the global COVID-19 virus pandemic.
The closures came at the recommendation of Superintendent Curt Dubost.
“We can’t comply with the direction to keep social distance,” Dubost told the board.
School board trustee Tim Gearhart said that he didn’t want to wait until the county had a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus to close schools, saying it would be too late at that point.
Board member Chris Arend said that he would have liked to have the “order on high” but said, “it looks like we are going to have to shut the schools down in a matter of days anyway.”
The board disagreed on how long the schools should remain closed and Dubost noted that the Centers for Disease Control is recommended that schools stay closed for eight to 20 weeks.
Board member Joel Peterson opposed closing the school for more than two weeks.
“I’m not going to vote to close schools for four weeks,” he said. “We don’t even know what … is going on.”
The board voted 5-3 to close schools until April 13 . The board will meet again March 24 to reassess the situation.
PRJUSD Food Services Director Joseph Vaughn said that food would continue to be provided for children despite the closures via a drive-thru system. He noted that children must remain inside of vehicles and that anybody under the age of 18 would be welcome to a meal.
Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Gaviola noted pay for district employees would be unaffected by the closure.
“This is uncharted territory for all of us,” Gaviola said.