LANCASTER —  Antelope Valley Union High School District extended its school closures more than four weeks with students expected to return on May 5, based on a recommendation by Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Duardo on March 13 originally recommended all schools in the county close through March 27.

The county superintendent recommended the extended closure Friday afternoon in light of new public health orders issued March 19 by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles County officials instructing people to stay at home and prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people.

Duardo consulted with school district superintendents across Los Angeles County and with State Superintendent Tony Thurmond.

“In the interest of public safety and the health of our children and most vulnerable community members, we are asking our 80 school districts to remain closed with students returning on May 5,” Duardo said in a statement. “School closures will help prevent transmission of the Coronavirus, which is everyone’s goal today. I commend our school district leaders and their staff, students and families for all that they are doing to ensure that learning continues and that vital nutrition and meal services are provided.”

AV Union High School District was closed this week. The District’s spring break is scheduled for Monday through Friday of next week. Students originally were expected to return on April 6.

District Superintendent David Vierra notified parents of the extended closure in an email sent Friday afternoon.

“We understand how challenging these decisions are for our families and we appreciate your support and patience,” the message said. “We are very grateful for all that our students, staff and parents are doing to support safety, continuity of education and feeding our children.”

District administrators will continue to provide updates via email, social media, and the District app.

The  District’s weekday seamless meal program will continue at Antelope Valley, Eastside, Highland, Knight, Lancaster, Littlerock, Palmdale and Quartz Hill high schools starting Monday.

Lunch and take-home breakfast will be provided “drive-thru” style from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the schools’ student-main parking lots.

District administrators are working on a plan that will allow all students to continue their learning during the extended closure.

“Our teachers are eager to share distance learning assignments for students which will be available no later than April 2,” Vierra’s message said.

Duardo’s call to extend school closures is only a recommendation. It was not clear Friday if other districts in the Antelope Valley will follow suit.

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