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State Center Community College District will suspend many in-person, on-campus classes from Monday through Thursday because of the growing threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the district announced Friday morning.

Some courses — labs, Career Technical Education, nursing, and child development practicum — will continue to meet, but students and staff should practice social distancing, the district said.

No cases of community transmission of COVID-19 have been reported in the district’s region, which includes Fresno, Madera, and Tulare counties. All three counties have reported cases that stemmed from cruise ships or travel outside the area.

In-person social distancing typically means keeping at least three to six feet away from other people, and not shaking hands or having other direct contacts.

High School Classes Will Continue

Online classes and the Design Science High School at Fresno City College and Reedley Middle College High School also will continue to meet.

Classes will resume on March 20 using online delivery systems as much as possible. The district said regular classes could resume by April 27 if the threat of coronavirus has eased.

The Child Development Centers, food pantries, and some student services will remain open. In addition, students may come to school to use wi-fi.

Trustees Scheduled To Meet Tonight

State Center trustees are scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. tonight to discuss and vote on an emergency resolution over the coronavirus threat.

State Center’s announcement comes a day after Fresno State said that in-person classes would be canceled starting Monday as a precaution against the virus’s spread.

Reedley College’s residence halls will remain open to students, spokesman George Takata said. Reedley is the district’s only college with dorms for students.

Basic services such as the food pantry, cafeteria, and library will remain open to students, he said.

The college is asking the public not to visit animals at the college farm at this time.

Area schools have remained open. Superintendents for Fresno County and the county’s largest school districts gathered Thursday to explain that schools are regarded as essential activities to maintain.

Closures would have a significant impact on families and the community, so the goal is to keep them open as long as possible.

Fresno County Science Fair To Be Limited

Jim Yovino, the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, told reporters Thursday that while many student athletic, academic, and other extracurricular events had been canceled, efforts were underway to keep some on the calendar.

On Friday, his office announced that the 67th annual Fresno County Science Fair would be a “limited edition” by increasing social distancing and decreasing access by the general public.

Students will arrive on a staggered schedule with one coach and chaperone, and will conduct interviews with judges by phone.

The science fair will be held next week at the Fresno Fairgrounds Commerce Building.

Many other events that involved large crowds, such as the Peach Blossom Festival at Fresno State, have been canceled.

Other Postponements Announced

Yovino’s office also announced Friday that three events scheduled for next week — the Scripps Spell Off on Tuesday, Teen Parent Conference on Wednesday, and Career Skills Challenge on Thursday, are postponed until further notice.

Officials are reviewing all events through the end of the school year and will consider modifying or postponing them depending on the state of health of students and the community.

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