The Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District has 20,000 meals available for students and plans to keep paying district employees as the school remains closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a news release and resolution distributed Wednesday.

The resolution was approved by the SCVUSD governing board during a meeting on Tuesday, which was streamed live online due to recommendations against large gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus.

At the meeting, SCVUSD Superintendent David Verdugo said the district’s foodservice provider could serve the meals to students “throughout the duration of the closure,” according to the March 18 news release.

The district began a meal service program on Tuesday, offering free breakfast and lunch to youth under 18 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. weekdays at the Calabasas School, Coatimundi Middle School and Mountain View Elementary School.

SCVUSD serves approximately 3,500 students at five schools in Rio Rico, but the program is not restricted to students enrolled at the district and adults can purchase meals.

The resolution approved at Tuesday’s meeting authorizes the superintendent to “continue regular payroll expenses for all employees.”

All employees will be “reassigned to home,” according to the resolution, but will be required to remain on call and work as needed during duty hours.

SCVUSD and Nogales Unified School District announced temporary closures last weekend, shortly before Gov. Doug Ducey issued a statewide mandate for schools to close until March 27.

It’s not clear when classes will be back in session.

“The Governing Board intends to close all schools until further notice or additional direction is provided by the Governor’s Office and the Arizona Department of Education,” the resolution said. “At which time the board will reassess the potential outbreak of COVID-19 and any public safety concerns.”

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