SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Six Bay Area counties will be extending school closures and student dismissals from regular school attendance through May 1 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Schools in the following Bay Area counties are affected:

  • Alameda County Office of Education
  • Contra Costa County Office of Education
  • Marin County Office of Education
  • San Francisco Unified School District
  • San Mateo County Office of Education
  • Santa Clara County Office of Education

In a statement, officials said school facilities may remain open to staff who need to take part in “tasks deemed essential by the school district and county offices of education.”

“Education will continue through flexible learning, meals will continue to be provided, and where possible, childcare may be arranged,” officials added.

Residents are urged to keep practicing social distancing and to adhere to shelter-in-place orders.

“We want to embrace what is being put out there across the state of California in terms of social distancing and the importance of that,” Terry Koehne said.

As things stand now, playgrounds and classrooms will be empty at least until May 1.

“This is the most important thing to keep our students and staff safe,” Oakland school teacher Bethany Meyer said. “We miss our students and we would rather being the classroom teaching but we accept it.”

Right now the level of instruction varies from district to district, but before there can be formal online classrooms, all students must be able to have computers and get online.

“We are focused on making sure we can access all students when learning does happen so its an equitable distribution of information so we are phasing in what we will be doing over the next two weeks,” Laura Dudnick said. “And we are planning what learning will look like during this extended school closure.”

In the meantime, many districts are continuing to provide meals to students who would otherwise go hungry.

Last Monday we had 2,500 meals to students for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days,” John Sasaki said. “On Thursday, we have 50,000 meals we gave out, this past Monday, we have out 100,000 meals so the need is there and we will do everything we can to get those meals to our students.”

School officials said they will get together with health officers the last week of April to see if this school closure must be extended past May 1.

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