Supt. Frances Esparza knew of too many parents who had called seeking an excused absence so their child could attend a funeral. She had read too many emails saying students missed classes because a family member was hospitalized.
At the middle school alone, at least 10 students had lost an immediate family member. And those students were just the ones who had come forward.
So at a time when Los Angeles County and California is experiencing a newfound sense of optimism that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, Esparza made a difficult decision. Hers is a school community where the losses among children, families and staff are still too raw, too recent.
Last month she announced, with the support of the school board, that the El Rancho Unified School District serving Pico Rivera would stay closed for the remainder of the school year.
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