The Rialto Unified School District Board of Education held an emergency meeting on Monday morning, March 16, to consider adopting a resolution that would provide RUSD Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila the authority to close the district to ensure and protect the welfare and safety of the community in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to board members going into closed session to discuss the resolution, Lisa Lindberg, president of Rialto Education Association, and RUSD educator Tobin Brinker expressed concerns about teachers reporting to school sites during the closure.
“During this crisis you must also consider your employees and their families, our members have legitimate concerns about their loved ones and personal circumstances,” Lindberg noted. “Just as (RUSD Board Clerk) Mr. Martinez has chosen to self-quarantine himself from this meeting this morning, our members have the exact same concern.”
Martinez participated in the meeting remotely.
According to statements read by Brinker teachers were concerned about their safety and that of their families for fear of exposure to the coronavirus.
“Requiring teachers to report to campus defeats the entire purpose of closing schools in the first place, there are many teachers who fall under the at-risk category or are caring for family who are at risk,” Brinker read. “It is imperative that teachers are allowed to work from home and shelter in place – it’s the only responsible thing to do for our students and community.”
Board members voted unanimously in favor of the motion; non-essential personnel will not be required to report to work and placed on paid leave.
Avila explained that closure of the school district does not constitute the cease of district operations, and in order to maintain the essential operations of the district, an adequate number of staff in certain departments such as Safety, Education, Nutrition and Business Services, etc. will report to work.
“Know that some staff will be required to come to work because certain functions have to continue,” Avila explained. “This is a medical issue, and it’s hard to not value the health of every individual. It is embedded in the core values of our district… trust the board and administrative team to make the decision that will benefit and protect the safety of everyone involved.”
Board President Nancy G. O’Kelley urged staff to remain available and accessible through email regularly due to the fluid nature of the pandemic. “We’ll get through this.”
This week a district team will be preparing instructional materials for students to complete during the two-week closure. Due to the fluctuating nature of the pandemic, RUSD procedures and guidelines may change on a day-to-day basis; the community is encouraged to check the district’s website regularly for updated, accurate information at www.rialto.k12.ca.us.
Meals for students:
The District will provide meals (breakfast and lunch) to students via “Grab & Go” bags during school closures beginning March 23. The meals can be picked up at any of the designated sites below.
Pick up times: 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Pick up locations:
● Bemis ES – 774 E.
Etiwanda Avenue, Rialto, CA 92376
● Simpson ES – 1050 S. Lilac Avenue, Rialto, CA 92376
● Frisbie MS – 1442 N. Eucalyptus Avenue, Rialto, CA 92376
● Kolb MS – 2351N. Spruce Avenue, Rialto, CA 92376
● Kucera MS 2140 W. Buena Vista Drive, Rialto, CA 92377
● Rialto MS 1262 W. Rialto Avenue, Rialto, CA 92376
● Eisenhower HS – 1321 N. Lilac Avenue, Rialto, CA 92376
● Rialto HS – 595 S. Eucalyptus Avenue, Rialto, CA 92376