March 13, 2020

Dear MBUSD Families,

I am writing to provide you with an update on the status of our schools. The situation related to our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. Today, all public school districts in Los Angeles County were advised by the Los Angeles County Office of Education to close our campuses to students for the next two weeks or more. As a result, we have made the decision to extend the time period during which students will be provided remote instruction through the end of our upcoming Spring Break. Manhattan Beach Unified schools will not re-open until Tuesday, April 14, 2020, at the earliest. 

Your child’s teacher(s) should be reaching out to you or your child no later than Tuesday, March 17, and I know that many of them have already started that process. If your child receives special education services, your child's case carrier will contact you to provide you with a plan to implement your child's IEP through a different delivery model during the school closure. We hope that our online instruction emails, resources, attachments, and videos will provide your child with a manageable, educational, and just maybe enjoyable experience during the break. I know that without that push, my child (who is in the same situation as a junior) would be content to destroy worlds in online gaming all day long. I hope that together, we can make this once in a lifetime event a learning experience. I’m grateful to our teachers who are learning new ways to reach our students, and I am appreciative of all of the parenting time it will take in this new world we live in. 

I was speaking with District PTA President Heather de Roos. Thanks to her idea, we have created a new web page that lists resources for parents during this time. The first entry will be this great article from the NY Times on parenting during school closures . I hope you find it helpful. If you have ideas for me to include, please send them to me! We will do our best to update it every day.

In my letter to families last night, I referenced the press release from the City of Manhattan Beach that announced two COVID-19 cases in our city. This is a time of great uncertainty, and I have been making every effort to apprise our parents that there has been no confirmed threat of COVID-19 in our school community. From everything I know, the individuals acted responsibly and made every effort to protect both their family and the community once they knew they had been exposed to the virus. Manhattan Beach schools did not close because of any individual’s actions.
At this time, it is very important to not place blame, but to exercise extreme compassion and care for our community. As the media has warned about cases of discrimination against certain ethnic groups and bullying and harassment of people wearing masks, etc., we must be vigilant to not alienate or place blame on any members of our community who may have been exposed to or contracted the virus. If we truly want to slow and eventually eradicate the social spread of COVID-19, individuals need to feel safe in their decision to get tested and self-quarantine.

Finally, I can’t emphasize how important it is to wash hands and practice social distancing strategies. Students are going to want to go out and play with friends, and it is critical that we all keep our safety in mind. Schools being closed is an important step, but there are many other opportunities for spread still out there. This Beach Cities Health District flyer has the essentials for safe living these days. Post it in your home and abide by it faithfully. 

This is all unprecedented, and we are all right in the middle of it. Thank you for caring for your families and for each other. Thanks to our teachers and staff for their efforts.

Let’s all do what we need to do to stay healthy.
Mike Matthews, Ed.D.
Manhattan Beach Unified School District
325 S. Peck Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310)318-7345, x5900
[310-318-7345, x5902]  []  []