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Turlock USD To Close Schools Thursday, Meals Will Be Provided To Kids

TURLOCK (CBS13)- It's an uncommon sight during the coronavirus pandemic:  Turlock schools staying open with students still in class while millions across the state aren't.

The district's superintendent sent a letter to parents stating with two-thirds of its students rely on school meals and parents who don't have options for child care, schools would stay open until Thursday giving parents time to figure out their plans.

Dear TUSD Community, The heartbeat of most communities, ours included, are our public schools; these are the institutions we send our children to learn, grow, and be safe. They provide our youngest, and most vulnerable, the security, food, and structure many do not receive at home. They provide jobs and wages to our neighbors and opportunities for families to work, earn an income, and provide for their own families without the burden of child care.  

The decision to close a school is a difficult one because it impacts children, employees, families, neighborhoods, and businesses. Eliminating face‐to‐face instruction at CSU Stanislaus and other colleges means that adult students stay home and utilize technology to continue learning. That is not a realistic option when we are dealing with children as young as 4 years old. Beyond the advice of medical authorities, we continue to be mindful of the following:

o    Close to two‐thirds of our families in TUSD are on free and reduced meals, meaning for many of our students, their only nutritious meals may come from school.

o    Many of our students have limited support systems at home and rely heavily on what we provide.

o    The majority of our students live in households where all adults work and most have no options for daycare. The most likely scenario for families who have no choice but to continue working is the use of grandparents or elderly for child care or worse, having young children remain at home alone.  

We are very cognizant of the safety of our students and school communities and the realities of our neediest families in Turlock. To support our best intentions for all, if keeping your child home is the right thing for your family please do so. As a parent/guardian, please call in your student's absence and it will be marked excused. If sending your child to school is the right thing for your family at this time, please continue to do so.

Sincerely, Dana Salles Trevethan

Jason Bernard is a father of two students in the district.

"Fortunately, my wife is a school teacher so she already has them lined up to be doing school work," he said.

Once all schools effectively shut down, food will be provided on a grab and go basis at seven different locations.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus School Closures: What Schools Have Canceled Class

"Some students don't really have and can't afford to get food like that so they rely on the school to feed them lunch and breakfast so the school is up on that I agree with the school on that one," one student said.

Until then, over the next few days, the district is teaching students social distancing a growing safety measure echoed across the nation. The district is working on plans for the next several weeks as all schools will be suspended starting Thursday until April 19th.

Meals will be offered from March 19th-April 9th between 9:30 am-12:00 pm.

Below are the grab-and-go locations:

Wakefield Elementary School, 400 South Ave.

Osborn Elementary School, 201 N. Soderquist Rd.

Cunningham Elementary School, 324 W. Linwood Ave.

Crowell Elementary School, 118 North Ave.

Turlock Junior High School, 3951 N. Walnut Rd.

Julien Elementary School, 1924 E. Canal Drive.

Dennis Earl Elementary School, 4091 N. Olive Ave.

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