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Santa Barbara County schools handing out laptops, lunches

Santa Barbara County schools handing out laptops, lunches

Lucia Mar extending coronavirus closures

As closures continue among Santa Barbara County schools, officials are continuing distribution efforts for lunches and supplies to local students, with one district handing out 10,000 meals Wednesday and 11,500 laptops over the past two days. 

Beginning Tuesday, the Santa Maria-Bonita School District handed out lunches, Chromebooks and books at various distribution stations, at individual school campuses as well as parks and bus stops and will be continuing through Friday.

Families are permitted to pick up supplies at the distribution site they are closest to; they are not required to travel to their home school if it is inconvenient.

However, families are only able to pick up supplies, Chromebooks and lunches if their child is with them.

The district office will continue to distribute Chromebooks and lunches at the sites and times listed on its Facebook page, which is being updated regularly, district spokeswoman Maggie White said. 

According to White, 10,063 meals were distributed throughout the district on Wednesday, including to students currently in homeless shelters. 

Chromebooks are distributed to all grade levels in the district except preschoolers, who are receiving activity kits from their teachers, White said. 

Over the past two days, a total of nearly 11,500 Chromebooks were distributed to students, White said. There are around 16,000 students in the district including preschoolers, leaving 20% more to be distributed Thursday and Friday.

District superintendents and teachers held a conference call Thursday evening to discuss which staff may be impacted by the shelter-at-home order from San Luis Obispo County, where multiple teachers are residents. 

White said the district is planning for potential staff shortages during distributions for the rest of the week due to the order, but that they will continue doing as much as they can to provide Chromebooks and supplies to as many students as possible.

Lucia Mar extends school closures to late April

The Lucia Mar Unified School District has announced extended school closures until at least April 20, affecting more than 10,600 students at 18 campuses in southern San Luis Obispo County.  

District officials originally announced last week that school closures were planned to last through March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus but families would be updated as the situation was monitored.

The announcement from Superintendent Andy Stenson regarding the extended closures was sent to district families Wednesday morning. 

"This decision was not taken lightly," Stenson said. "The Board of Education and district leadership fully understand the gravity of this decision, and the burden it places on our families." 

District officials are working on online learning opportunities for students, and more information will be sent to families Thursday, according to Stenson.

Chromebook checkouts for students are being planned through individual schools in the district.

In the meantime, the superintendent advised families to utilize online academic enrichment activities provided by the district. 

Food deliveries for students will be available throughout the duration of the closure from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fairgrove Elementary School, Nipomo High School, Arroyo Grande High School, Mesa Middle School and Judkins Middle School. 

More information on food deliveries is available on the district website at  www.luciamarschools.org.

Laura Place covers city government for the Santa Maria Times.

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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