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AUSD Approves Emergency Measures in Response to COVID-19 Crisis

Photo by David Muñoz.

Location

Alhambra , CA

Continuing to solidify operations in response to COVID-19, the Alhambra Unified Board of Education met in special session Tuesday to discuss a resolution declaring an ongoing public health emergency within the district.

The resolution, approved on a 5-0 vote, also granted Superintendent Denise R. Jaramillo broad powers to act, in the words of Board President Patricia Rodriguez-Mackintosh, “quickly and effectively” in the best interests of the district, its 21 campuses and over 16,500 pupils.

This would allow Jaramillo the ability to modify school and work schedules as needed without prior board approval and to cancel or modify any activities, programs, or courses, up to and including the temporary closure of the district.

The emergency measure, signed by Rodriguez-Mackintosh, would also allow the district to seek state and federal funding to help mitigate of the costs of its response to the COVID-19 emergency.

In comments at the start of the session, Rodriguez-Mackintosh said that there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the AUSD. She, board member Robert L. Gin and board clerk Joanne Russell-Chavez attended the meeting in person. Board Vice President Jane C. Anderson and board member Wing Ho participated by telephone.

In keeping with social distancing requirements to prevent COVID-19, the board limited the number of residents who could attend Tuesday’s special meeting in the district’s board room to 10 and encouraged those interested in the proceedings to watch the meetings live online. 

On Monday, the Alhambra City Council passed its own emergency declaration closing the city library to the public and endorsing limitations on some businesses as imposed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Their action came just hours after the L.A. County Department of Health provided a list of cities, with populations of over 25,000, that have coronavirus cases. That list included two cases in Alhambra but none in San Gabriel,  Monterey Park or Rosemead, the three other main feeder cities in the AUSD. The health department released no further information on the Alhambra cases.

Last Friday the AUSD board met in special session to approve a plan to dismiss the students all district schools for a two week period starting Monday, March 16. That two week period would be followed by the planned Spring Break at which time the school dismissals would be reconsidered. The dismissal idea was an effort to allow teachers and staff and remain on duty on school grounds and make provisions for off-site learning. But that plan was abandoned late Monday after state and federal officials advised more stringent guidelines on the sizes of public gatherings and encouraged residents to just stay home.

The district is attempting to continue its lunchtime service for those students in need of food and has plans in effect through Friday, March 20. Going forward the program will be re-evaluated and, if it is deemed safe for staff, continued.  The district encourages interested parties to check its website for details that are often changing daily.

The district has also posted on its website some student and parent resources for online learning. In addition the website also announced that Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do no already have Spectrum broadband service. 

The next board meeting, scheduled for March 24, has been postponed until further notice.

 

Previous reporting from Alhambra Source:

Alhambra Council Declares State of Emergency in Response to COVID-19 March 16, 2020

Alhambra Has Two COVID-19 Cases, Health Department Says. L.A. County Is Ordered To Social Distance March 16, 2020

Coronavirus: “It’s not just about you.” March 12, 2020

AUSD Announces New Measures to Protect Students, Staff from COVID-19 March 11, 2020

AUSD Board Hears Details on Preparations for Coronavirus Response March 11, 2020

For more information from the Alhambra Source, go to our Stay Healthy page.

Independent journalism is a bedrock of democracy--and it's in crisis. Here at the Alhambra Source, we're committed to covering the local stories that matter most to you. We don’t have advertisers and we don’t have pay walls, but we do have bills. You read to the end of this story. That's great. But this kind of journalism will end without public support. Join us! Support the work and the democratic values it serves. Donate now!

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