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Manhattan Beach Unified is having a public budget meeting Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 to discuss imminent layoffs due to a dwindling rainy day fund. (Photo by Tyler Shaun Evains, The Beach Reporter/SCNG)

All fields and blacktops within the Manhattan Beach Unified School District are closed to the public as of Monday, March 30, Superintendent Mike Matthews wrote in an email to parents and staff. 

"While part of the reason is that we have continued to witness people who were not observing social distancing practices – and, as a result, had to have our staff approach them and ask them to separate – we also recognize that the nation is moving to completely eliminate all opportunities for the spread of COVID-19," Matthews wrote in the Monday email, adding that the district needs to do its part in the nation's effort to eliminate all opportunities for the virus' spread.  

"We hope that in the near future, we can reopen our fields...when we feel it is safe to do so. We are all looking forward to seeing a downturn in the number of cases and reopening our fields and blacktops when we feel it is safe, so people can enjoy fresh air and open space in the near future," Matthews wrote. 

MBUSD on Friday, March 27 announced its first case of COVID-19 among an employee, per a late Friday email to parents and staff from Matthews.

“The employee showed no symptoms until after the last day of regular school on March 13 and has fully recovered after experiencing only mild symptoms,” Matthews wrote in the Friday email. “All information has been reported to the County. This is just one more example of how the number of cases continues to expand.” 

Manhattan Beach accounts for 23 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, out of 2,136 cases countywide as of the health department’s latest tally. Hermosa Beach was listed as having between 1 and 4 cases; its close proximity could cause overlap in counting.

The city announced that two individuals tested positive on March 12, and it was reported on March 18 that an attendee to a fundraiser at American Martyrs O’Donnell Hall on March 7 had tested positive. It was unclear how many others may have contracted the virus at the event, though several were tested after experiencing symptoms. 

Manhattan Beach resident Greg Geilman, 50, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 Saturday, March 21, said he had no clue where he picked up the virus. It’s at least anecdotal proof, he said, that the virus could be anywhere.

“I could have picked it up at the gym, at Whole Foods, from a Trader Joe’s shopping cart,” Geilman said. “I have no idea and it kind of doesn’t matter.”

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms associated with the respiratory disease, which appear two-to-14 days after exposure, include fever, a cough and shortness of breath. While the virus poses a potential danger no matter a person’s age, most people — particularly healthy young adults — will experience mild symptoms; still, the disease can have severe symptoms and, as the rising death toll indicates, prove fatal, especially among the elderly and those with underlying health problems.

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