What is COVID-19? What are the symptoms?

What is “sheltering in place”? What is social distancing? Do I have to stay indoors all the time?

How do I protect myself from getting sick?

Who is in the most danger from this disease?

What else is being done to slow or stop this disease?

Where can I get help if me or my family have lost income that we relied on?

Where can we get food?

Where can my family or I go if we lost our home or had to leave our school?

How can I get on the internet and/or get a device to do my work?

What is happening with schools?

This is all scary. What can I do to not stress out and to help others?

What do I do without the library?

Where can I get more reliable information?

Lots More Resources

What is COVID-19? What are the symptoms?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.” It’s transmitted from being infected by a virus (the new coronavirus). It is highly contagious and can be spread between people in close contact and through droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. It can also spread by touching surfaces those droplets land on. One becomes infected if the virus gets into one’s lungs, mouth, nose, or maybe eyes. The virus can be destroyed with common things such as soap and water, rubbing alcohol, and bleach solutions.

(Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Prevention of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19))

According to CDC, the most common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Information about symptoms and other medical facts can also be found on The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Q&A webpage here. WHO states that some people do not develop any symptoms and do not feel unwell.

If ever in doubt, call a health-care provider for medical advice. If you do not have a health-care provider, call 211.

Find links to other health information here.

What is “sheltering in place”? What is social distancing? Do I have to stay indoors all the time?

Shelter in Place

People in California have been ordered by the state government to “shelter in place.” Shelter in place means staying in your home and not leaving unless it is necessary.

This means:

  • Stay home
  • Only go out for “essential activities,” to work for an “essential business,” or for “essential travel
  • Stay six (6) feet or more away from others
    • Limit time with older adults and others with chronic medical conditions if they are a part of your household
  • Not hold any gatherings

(Fresno County Department of Public Health)

You ARE allowed to leave your home to:

  • Obtain food or take-out meals
  • Get medicine
  • Purchase other necessary items
  • Exercise outdoors if it is not in close contact with other people
  • Go on walks, ride your bikes, hike in your local neighborhood while maintaining social distance (i.e., be more than six (6) feet away from others)

When leaving your house, the CDC asks that all people, except children under the age of two, cover their mouth and nose with a cloth face cover.

Please visit the CA.Gov, “Stay home except for essential needs” order.

Social Distancing

Johns Hopkins Medicine describes social distancing as “deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness.” Sheltering in place is just a more rigorous form of social distancing. This means, while you are outside doing your essential errands, try to keep at least six (6) feet away from others as possible. Not sure how far this is? Use your height as a point of reference. 

Now, watch this short video by artist Juan Delcan for a summary of how shelter in place and social distancing disrupt the spread of COVID-19

How do I protect myself from getting sick?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed some recommendations on how to protect yourself:  

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (Here’s a video on how. And this video shows how to wash all parts of your hands [hint: it’s harder than you think].)  
  • Especially after you’ve been in public places, or have blown your nose, coughed, or sneezed. 
  • If no soap and water is available, use any hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when going out if you are over the age of two. Make sure to wash the mask frequently. Link to CDC cloth cover instructions. 
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Practice social distancing. The recommendation is at least six (6) feet from others.  
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home if you are sick. 
  • Use an alternative to shaking hands, like a wave. 
  • This is especially important around vulnerable individuals who are:   
    • 65+ years, or  
    • those who have health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and weakened immune systems 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. See more details here. (Very detailed explanation here.) 
  • Monitor your health and follow the instructions of county public health officials. Call your health-care provider if you need medical advice. 
  • Remember, some people can spread the virus if they are not showing symptoms. 

Who is in the most danger from this disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “older adults [65 years and older] and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.” For a list of those most at risk, visit the CDC’s FAQ page and click on “Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19?” under “How to Protect Yourself.” 

People who are LESS at risk, like teenagers, should be very careful not to expose vulnerable people to the virus. Remember, one can be carrying the virus without knowing it, and then expose others to it. 

What else is being done to slow or stop this disease?

On March 19, CA Governor Newsom ordered all Californian residents to stay at home and it will continue until further notice. This order overrides any county-specific rules, meaning all residents of California must “shelter in place”. The Shelter in Place order also closes any non-essential businesses to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Essential services include grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, and so forth. Restaurants can only offer take-out and delivery; all dining rooms are closed. Full text of the Shelter in Place order can be found here, as well as FAQs about it as well. 

The Shelter in Place order does allow people to go outside – if they are maintaining a safe distance of 6 feet from people who are not a part of their household. You can still go for walks outside – just make sure you practice good social distancing practices. Imagine a Hozier-sized space between you and others. All state parks have been closed until further notice, check this link for updates. All Fresno County parks are also closed to help make it easier to maintain social distancing, this includes dog parks. All basketball and tennis courts will be locked, and basketball rims and tennis nets are removed.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has highlighted its response to COVID-19 here

Where can I get help if me or my family have lost income that we relied on?

Check out the following resources: 

Where can we get food?

Alvina Elementary School – Meals will continue at Caruthers High School from 11AM – 1PM, school buses will also drop off lunches to students beginning April 14th.  

Big Creek Elementary – School is delivering meals to students living in Big Creek including those that attend Sierra Jr. & High School, please see Sierra Unified for information if you do not live in Big Creek but attend Big Creek Elementary. 

Burrel Union Elementary School District – Breakfast and Lunch will be provided and delivered by school staff  

Caruthers Unified – Meals will be distributed through student bus routes between 11AM and 1PM, meals will also be available for pick up at Caruthers High school from 11AM to 1PM 

Central Unified - “Grab & Go” lunch and breakfasts are from 11AM to 1PM at several elementary schools, please check the link for a full list. Meals will be available during Spring Break specific days, check the Spring Break Meal Schedule.    

Clay Elementary School – Meals currently not available after April 3rd, check the link after April 13th for an update. 

Clovis Unified – Meal distribution will continue on April 14th, check the link for a list of times and places. 

Coalinga-Huron Unified – Meal distribution will continue on April 14th, check the link for a list of times and places. 

Firebaugh – Las Deltas Unified - No Meals Currently 

Fowler Unified – Meals will be provided starting April 14th, times range from 11AM to 11:30AM and 12PM-12:30PM and alternate days, please check the link for a full list.  

Fresno Unified - Meals will be available after April 13th, the end of Spring Break. Grab and Go meals at designated sites will be available from Monday –Friday, 9AM to 11AM. Click on the link for a full list. 

Golden Plains Unified – Meal services will be held from 11AM to 1PM at several locations, please follow the link for a full list. 

Kerman Unified- Grab and Go meals will available for students Monday – Friday from 10AM  

Kings Canyon Joint Unified – Meals will be available starting April 14th, breakfast for pick-up will be available from 7:30AM-8AM at some locations, lunch pick-up will range in time, please visit the link for a list of schools.  

Kingsburg Joint Union High – Lunches will be provided starting April 14 from 12PM - 1PM at the snack bar on all regular business days. Check the link for updates.  

Laton Joint Unified – Lunch will ab available beginning April 14th from 11AM to 12:30PM at Laton Elementary.  

Mendota Unified – For the week of April 13th, meals will be available Monday and Wednesday of the week from 11AM –1PM. Meals will be available from April 20th through May 1st on Mondays only, from 11AM – 1PM at McCabe and Mendota Elementary and Mendota High School.  

Monroe Elementary - Meal distribution is Monday to Friday starting at 11AM and ending at various times depending on location. Please see the link for a full list.  

Orange Center - Breakfast and lunch will be delivered at each bus stop two hours later than normal pick up time. Grab and go meals will also be available at the school from 9AM-11:30AM Monday through Friday.  

Parlier Unified- Grab and go meals will be available after April 13th. Please check your school’s website for more information or call (559) 646-7115. 

Pine Ridge Elementary – Meals need to be ordered by emailing Meals will be available again after April 13th. 

Raisin City Elementary – After April 13th, meals will be available by bus route between 11AM – 1PM at regular bus stops and in the cafeteria from 11AM – 1PM, Monday to Friday.  

Riverdale Joint Unified – Meals will resume after April 13th. Monday through Friday from 11AM – 1PM at Riverdale High School and at bus drop-off stops.  

Sanger Unified – Meals will be available after April 13th, Monday to Friday from 11AM – 12:15PM. Please see the link for a full list of schools. 

Selma Unified – Meals will be available through Spring Break, Monday to Friday from 11AM – 1PM. See the link for a full list of schools.  

Sierra Unified – Meals will be available through the bus schedule routes after April 14th. Check the link for the meal bus schedule.  

Washington Unified – Meal service will begin again on April 14th, meals will be available from 10:30AM – 12:30PM, Monday to Friday, at Washington Union High School and West Fresno Elementary School. 

West Park Elementary - Contact district office for information. 559-233-6501 

Central California Food Bank – Food locator or call 559-237-3663

Where can my family or I go if we lost our home or had to leave our school?

On March 27th, Governor Newsom ordered that renters in California cannot be evicted due to their inability to pay their rent due to the coronavirus. Renters must inform their landlord in writing within 7 days.  

On March 19th, Fresno City Council unanimously passed an emergency eviction moratorium. They will have payments deferred for one month with six months to repay that month’s rent if their income was affected by COVID-19. They must formally contact their landlord if this is the case. This measure also restores water service to those who had been cut off before the order.  

California also has a statewide hotline available for information at 833-544-2374

For unhoused youth, the following places provide a place to sleep, shower, do laundry, and eat a hot meal. Call first to confirm availability.


Fresno EOC Sanctuary Transitional Shelter (Ages 18-24) 1046 T St #1427, Fresno, CA 93721 - Housing registration is from 10am-12pm Mon –Thurs. First come first served basis.

Sanctuary Youth Shelter 1545 N St, Fresno, CA 93721 - Staff is on call for housing at (800) 820-4968 or (559) 777-5101. Teens can also text the word “safe” and current location (address, city, state) to 4HELP for nearest Safe Place Location.

Laundry and Showers:

Poverello House: 412 F St, Fresno, CA 93706

Men: First come, first served laundry Mon-Fri starting at 6:15AM. Showers are Sunday-Friday from 7AM-11AM

Saint Agnes Holy Cross Center for Women and Children: 421 F St, Fresno, CA 93706

Women: Laundry Mon-Sat from 8AM-2PM. First come first served. Showers are Mon-Sat from 8AM-10AM & 12:15PM-2:45PM. First come, first served.


Fresno Rescue Mission: 263 G St, Fresno, CA 93706

Open 24/7; 559-268-0839, contact Larry Arce;

Provides three meals a day for men and women, men are required to attend evening service.

Salvation Army – The Family Service Center: 1752 Fulton St, Fresno, CA, 93721

Open: M – F 9 AM to Noon, 1 PM to 5 PM

Phone: 559-233-0138

Provides canned foods for those in need, photo ID required.

Can call United Way 211 from any payphone for free for immediate assistance and updated information.

How can I get on the internet and/or get a device to do my work?

Connect to free Wifi in our branch parking lots: While Fresno County Public Library branches are currently closed, we’ve left the Wifi on for you! It is accessible from the outside of the building. Make sure to practice social distancing as you use it. 

Comcast, AT&T, and Spectrum are now allowing everyone, whether they're customers or not, to access their public WiFi for free at one of their hotspots

• To find a Comcast hotspot near you, click here

• To find a Spectrum hotspot near you, click here

• AT&T has not created a map of its hotspots, but there are thousands across the country. 

Please refer to this website for programs that help low-income families gain access to internet services and devices. 

Device help available from local school districts:

Central Unified School District will be distributing a limited number of Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots to enrolled students, with a selection of recipients based on need

Fresno Unified School District is providing all enrolled students with tablets (K-3rd grade) or laptops (4th-12th grades), as well as a number of WiFi hotspots.  

Parlier Unified School District is providing Chromebooks for junior high students, Macbooks for high school students, and iPads for students in 1st-6th grades. See the distribution schedule here

Riverdale Joint Unified School District students without adequate access to WiFi may be able to receive a mobile hotspot. Please contact (559) 891-4310 for more details. 

What is happening with schools?

Currently, these schools are scheduled to return to a regular schedule on April 14th, please check the school’s website for updates: Burrel Union Elementary and Orange Center.  

These school districts have transitioned to distance learning and currently have a return date as of May 4, 2020: Big Creek ElementaryCaruthers UnifiedClay Joint ElementaryClovis UnifiedGolden Plains UnifiedKerman UnifiedKings Canyon Joint UnifiedKingsburg Joint Union HighMendota UnifiedMonroe ElementaryParlier UnifiedPine Ridge ElementaryRiverdale Joint UnifiedSelma UnifiedSierra UnifiedWashington Colony Elementary, and West Park Elementary

These school districts have transitioned to distance learning and will not be going back to a regular schedule this school year: Alvina Elementary Charter SchoolCentral UnifiedCoalinga-Huron Unified, Fowler UnifiedFresno UnifiedLaton Joint Unified, and Sanger Unified.  

These districts have not provided a date for return to regular instruction as of yet: Firebaugh-Las Deltas UnifiedKingsburg Elementary CharterPacific Union ElementaryRaisin City Elementary, and Washington Union

Most schools have transitioned to remote learning plans. Check with your school’s website or contact them directly. 

Graduating seniors who were accepted into a UC college will be interested to know that grading requirements have been altered and have added additional help with financial aid due to COVID-19. Click here to read more.

For 2021 UC applicants, University of California schools are suspending the SAT/ACT requirements, this applies mainly to current high school juniors who will be applying for college in the fall. Click here to read more.

This is all scary. What can I do to not stress out and to help others?

Take Care of Your Mental Health

It is important to also be taking care of your mental health at this time. The shelter in place order has been very stress-inducing for many individuals. Here are some resources with ideas for how to manage that stress: 

Helping Others

Volunteer with the Central California Food BankCentral California Food Bank is actively seeking volunteers to help in their distribution center and out in the community. Teens are eligible to volunteer their time helping put together agency orders (ages 16+) or packing emergency meals or bagging produce (under 15, co-volunteering with an adult or 16+ without an adult). 

Do Wellness Checks: Check on older or immunocompromised relatives, neighbors, and friends, with a call, text, or a chat through their front door (trying to maintain a distance of 6 feet). 

Share on Social Media: If you are concerned about leaving your home at this time, or have no options to do so, consider sharing reputable COVID-19-related information and resources with your friends and followers on social media. You might also use your influence to promote awareness of nonprofit organizations helping our community in this crisis, or simply share uplifting links and pictures to help others temporarily escape stresses they may be feeling. 

Coordinate Neighborhood Games: People worldwide are raising spirits in their communities by putting teddy bears in their street-facing windows, decorating and displaying paper Easter Eggs for kids to find while they’re out on walks—and more. Spark fun from a distance by starting similar games or challenges among your neighbors or friends. 

Use Your Tech Know-how to Help Others Learn to Use Their Smartphone or other Devices to Connect to Digital Services: Know an avid reader who depends on the library for access to books? Show them how to install and use apps to check out eBooks and eAudiobooks from FCPL! 

What do I do without the library?

FCPL understands that we all miss our libraries and everything we used to do – but there are options for online resources! We will continue to provide the many online services you know and live, like ebooks, streaming movies, TV and music services, access to magazines and newspapers, and so much. Our physical buildings may be closed, but you can still use your library from home. For all of our digital offerings, click here.

Many of our resources require a library card, but you are in luck! If you call any of the numbers below, we can create a library card over the phone:

Betty Rodriguez Regional Library: 559-600-9245

Clovis Regional Library 559-600-9531

Fig Garden Regional Library 559-600-4071

Sunnyside Regional Library: 559-600-6594

Woodward Regional Library: 559-600-3135

Reference line: 559-600-7323

** call between 9AM-12PM, 1PM-5PM, Monday -Friday or email 

If you are looking for just general entertainment to help pass the time while you are social distancing, check out our online library – full of books, music, movies, and more: Click here to check some stuff out!

If you are a student in Fresno Unified, Central Unified, Selma Unified, and Clovis Unified high schools, you can now use Sora (an online library) with your student id number – no library card needed! Click here for Sora!

If you need help with school work while you are working from home, check out our online homework center – a place where you can get help with biography projects, access online encyclopedias for research papers, and test prep! Click here for our homework center!

And finally, don’t forget that we are still running our Free Fridays giveaways during the shutdown! You won’t get the books until we reopen, but you can still enter to win and you can win some fun things to get when we resume normal business hours! Check here on Fridays to enter!

Where can I get more reliable information?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for frequently asked questions

You can find more about the COVID-19 virus here Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)   


If you’re wondering whether something you heard or read online is accurate or not, check Snopes or or ask the library’s Teen Services staff at 

FEMA's Rumor Control 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters  

These websites are gathering statistics, which are very interesting, but keep in mind that everything is changing very fast, and they might not be keeping up on everything:  

Coronavirus Dashboard 

Worldometer for real-time COVID-19 statistics  

Lots More Resources: