ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — The Elk Grove Unified School District announced it will be shutting all schools for the week of March 7 through March 13 due to coronavirus concerns, according to an email sent out to Elk Grove families Saturday.
The letter sent by the district’s superintendent Christopher R. Hoffman stated:
At this time, we ask parents to make arrangements for their student(s) for March 7 – March 13, 2020 as all EGUSD schools will be closed, classes will be canceled and any student-related activities will also be canceled. An update on whether the school closures will be extended will be provided by the end of the day, Thursday, March 12, 2020.
CHRISTOPHER R. HOFFMAN
According to Hoffman, the decision to shut down schools in the district was made in collaboration and coordination with EGUSD’s Board of Trustees, labor groups, the Sacramento County Office of Education and the Sacramento County Public Health Department.
In the letter, Hoffman stated that “to date, no student or staff has tested positive for COVID-19.”
Due to the cancellation of classes next week, the EGUSD stated in the letter that they are moving the district’s traditional spring break originally scheduled for April 6-10 to occur during March 9-13.
In response to the closure, the Sacramento County Office of Education and Sacramento Public Health Department issued a joint statement.
No other local school districts have announced closures.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates
NorCal schools take different approach to possible coronavirus exposure
Those three school districts are Elk Grove Unified School District, Sacramento City Unified School District and Rocklin Unified School District. Here’s how the school districts are handling coronavirus concerns:
ELK GROVE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Elk Grove Unified is looking into the possibility students have experienced secondary exposure to the coronavirus, meaning the students were around someone who was exposed to the disease.
On Thursday, KCRA received a copy of an email that a principal at an Elk Grove Unified school sent to the staff. The email said three students were exposed to a relative. The relative was exposed to a person who was infected with the coronavirus. The relative has since self-quarantined for two weeks and is, as of now, symptom-free. The students have temporarily moved out of the home that they share with the family member.
The email said, “According to CDC and SCPH, the … students are low risk because they have not been exposed to a person who is displaying symptoms or signs of illness such as cough, fever, etc. The rest of our students are at an even lower risk.”
The email was sent only to staff members. A portion of the email also reads: “Please keep this information confidential and DO NOT PASS ON THIS INFORMATION TO STUDENTS. We have already had incidents in the upper grades of discrimination/teasing towards Asian students due to the hype.”
The principal sent the email to the staff on Monday. After KCRA reached out to the school district on Thursday about the email, the Elk Grove Unified School Superintendent sent an email in the afternoon to families and staff saying in part:
“Currently, we are working very closely with Sacramento County Public Health as they continue to perform their contact analysis of people who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 either as travelers or because of a connection to a family member. As part of this analysis, less than a dozen of our Elk Grove Unified families have been contacted. For those cases, Sacramento County Public Health has issued precautionary measures to quarantine or isolate individuals.”
The email to families did not mention which school or schools are involved because the district considers that “confidential information,” according to district spokesperson Xanthi Pinkerton.
“Because of FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) laws, I cannot give out individual family or student or even staff information,” Pinkerton said.
When KCRA asked why the principal’s email was kept confidential and not sent to families, Pinkerton replied:
“That’s a very important point that we’re investigating right now. Any kind of confidential information that goes out is a breach of our obligation towards FERPA and will be definitely investigating that information,” she said.
On Thursday afternoon, the district confirmed two Elk Grove Unified families have been contacted by Sacramento County Public Health for potential exposure to the coronavirus, are being isolated or quarantined until they are cleared and do not have a direct connection to schools.
SACRAMENTO CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Meanwhile, the Sacramento City Unified School District is identifying a school with coronavirus concerns. Families at Leonardo da Vinci K-8 left the school with a letter in hand from the principal that says in part:
“I want to let you know that were are aware that a few of our Leonardo da Vinci community members have been asked to self-quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19. At this time, no one in the family has any symptoms.”
The principal said a team deep cleaned the campus on Wednesday night and added that Sacramento County Public Health reassured school officials that all school activities should continue as normal.
“It’s obviously nerve-racking. It’s something that’s scary, the coronavirus, at least this version of it, isn’t something to play around with at all,” said parent Alex Townsend.
Parents, like Townsend, were grateful for the notice from the school even though no one has shown symptoms of COVID-19 so far.
“For the most part, it seems that a lot of administrations and work environments are kind of brushing this under the rug or for the most part saying, ‘Oh, you still got to come to work,’” said Townsend. “And so the fact that the school is trying to be honest about it and say, ‘Hey something happened, but we’re doing the best that we can right now,’ is for the best.”
ROCKLIN UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Finally, Rocklin Unified School District said crews are cleaning four schools in connection with the first person in California who died from the coronavirus: Rocklin High School, Granite Oaks Middle School, Parker Whitney Elementary School and Sunset Ranch Elementary School.
School officials said they are cleaning those schools because people who study and work there are related to the three firefighters who were exposed to the coronavirus patient who died.
According to the three school districts, no one has shown any symptoms of the coronavirus and there are no plans for schools to close at this point.