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California schools unlikely to reopen this academic year | Local coronavirus update

California school districts should plan on teaching from afar for the rest of the academic year

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — Here are the latest updates on coronavirus and how local governments are responding to the illness, with a focus on California for Wednesday, April 1.

What's Closed: Schools | Events


The California Department of Public Health reports:

  • 8,155 confirmed cases: (As of 2 p.m. April 1).
  • 171 deaths 
  • 22 state and county labs processing tests for COVID-19. As of March 31, approximately 90,100 tests have been conducted. (This week’s cumulative testing numbers are lower than last week due to an inadvertent over-reporting error discovered by one of the private labs)
  • Click here for complete information on coronavirus, unemployment, and more from the state of California.


  • California schools unlikely to reopen this academic year: California school districts should plan on teaching from afar for the rest of the academic year. That's according to new guidance from the state superintendent of public instruction and Gov. Gavin Newsom. It's not a mandate, but it gives districts the cover to do what many already felt was necessary. California has more than 6 million students across 10,000 schools. Google says it will provide internet access to 100,000 rural households and Chromebooks for 4,000 students in need to assist with online learning. Newsom says the state is still working to ensure all students can be connected. In addition, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond also announced $100 million will be distributed to local educational agencies through the state. “These funds will allow district administrators to ensure that sites are properly cleaned and sanitized, keep school staff safe, provide nutritious meals, and focus on implementing a distance learning infrastructure that is equitable and accessible to all students,” said Thurmond.

  • L.A. mayor calls for people to wear masks: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has recommended that the city's 4 million people wear masks when going outside amid the spreading coronavirus. Garcetti on Wednesday said people in the nation's second-largest city who are performing essential tasks such as food shopping should wear homemade, non-medical face coverings, or even bandannas, as people in other countries hard-hit by the COVID-19 virus have done. But Garcetti says residents shouldn't use medical-grade masks, which are needed for healthcare workers. He also says people should still stay home as much as possible.

  • The California DMV is extending the deadline to renew expiring driver licenses for seniors and drivers with a good record, a new initiative to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Seniors with an expiring driver license will receive a 120-day extension in the mail. Drivers with safe records whose last DMV visit was 15 years ago will not be required to renew in person for the next 60 days and will be able to renew online or by mail.

  • Save Mart, FoodMaxx and Lucky stores across California and Northern Nevada will begin to have special shopping hours for first responders during the coronavirus pandemic. Shopping hours will begin April 2, one hour before and one hour after store hours. Any law enforcement, fire and medical personnel must provide proof of credentials to access dedicated shopping.

  • Cases in Sacramento County: Officials confirmed the number of cases to be at 314 with nine deaths. Officials said the increase was expected, however, they say Sacramento County Public Health's discovery that 1/3 of the cases are linked to gatherings related to churches came as a surprise. “Social distancing works. We must keep our distance from others and not gather with any non-household members. Period. If we do not slow the spread of cases, a surge of sick people could have the potential to overwhelm our hospitals, doctors and equipment resources and could result in additional deaths,” said, Dr. Peter Beilenson, Director of the Department of Health Services.

  • Calfiornia coronavirus cases reach 8,200: A Southern California nursing home has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with more than 50 residents infected — a troubling development amid cautious optimism that cases in the state may peak more slowly than expected. San Bernardino County authorities say 51 residents and six staff members of a Yucaipa nursing home had COVID-19, and two residents have died. Tuesday's announcement came as California Gov. Gavin Newsom said extraordinary efforts to keep people home have bought time needed to prepare for an expected peak surge of cases, now likely to occur in May. On Wednesday, California had at least 8,200 cases and 180 deaths.

  • 3rd coronavirus case in Amador County: Officials in Amador County have confirmed another coronavirus case in the county, bringing the total up to three. Officials say the case was found in an elderly resident and was travel-related.
  • More than 15,000 Google Chromebooks will soon be distributed to students from transitional kindergarten (TK) up to the 6th grade in the Modesto City Schools system to aid in distance learning as school campuses remain closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Distribution of the computers will take place between April 1 and April 8. Modesto City Schools listed a complete schedule of distribution online, but said each school site will also contact families directly.
  • "Google stepped up in a big way," Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference this afternoon. The technology company is providing 100,000 points of access to improve internet services for teachers and students forced to pivot to distance learning in the coming months. Google will provide free, quality internet access across the state of California for a minimum of three months during the coronavirus pandemic.  Google is also offering Chromebooks, though the details of this are still in the works. 
  • Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT) bus riders will have to begin boarding through the rear door, away from the driver, starting immediately, officials said. Passengers with disabilities or those that require a ramp to board will still be able to use the front door for boarding, SacRT wrote. In a press release about the change, SacRT wrote, “For riders paying cash or with a paper ticket, they can pay their fare by depositing it in the metal box located above the front wheel-well and pick up a paper daily pass or transfer near the box after payment is made. For Connect Card users, they can tap their card at the Connect Card reader located on the yellow pole. ZipPassmobile fare app users just need to show their active screen to the bus operator while standing behind the white line, which is located on the floor approximately four feet from the bus operator.”
  • A store employee at the Raley’s store located in the College Greens Shopping Center in Sacramento has tested positive for coronavirus. According to Raley’s Corporate Director of Public Affairs Chelsea Minor, the employee last reported to the store on March 18. “Based on the timeline of illness and our enhanced cleaning processes since that day, we do not have reason to believe there is a need for concern,” Minor wrote in a press release. “We have confirmed that our enhanced sanitation procedures have been properly followed since the team member has reported to work.”
  • A veteran Santa Rosa police officer died from complications with coronavirus, the department announced. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of a member of our SRPD family, Detective Marylou Armer. Marylou has faithfully served our community, in the Santa Rosa Police Department for the past 20 years,” the department wrote in a post on Twitter. “Sadly, Marylou was one of the first employees to test positive for #COVID19 and today succumbed to complications from the illness. Our hearts are with the family and Marylou will be deeply missed.”
  • The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District is launching its first Mobile Integrated Healthcare unit around the Sacramento area in an effort to fight the coronavirus. Fire officials say as many as six units are planned for the area with Metro Fire, the Sacramento Fire Department, and Cosumnes Fire Department each facilitating two units. In a press release issued on Tuesday, officials said the units will operate “with a focus on identifying at risk individuals and communities it will provide resources, testing, and provide basic medical support to citizens who might not otherwise be able to access appropriate healthcare.”
  • Former Oakland Athletics infielder and current minor league manager Webster Garrison is hospitalized in Louisiana and on a ventilator with the coronavirus. His fiance posted an update on social media that the 54-year-old Garrison still required a ventilator to fight COVID-19 and said he was “turning the corner” in his battle. Garrison managed the Class A Stockton Ports last season and was expected to manage in the Arizona Fall League this year. He played five games for the A's in 1996, never getting a hit in 10 plate appearances while drawing one walk. He is from Marrero, Louisiana.
  • Hundreds of California cities are asking the governor to suspend or delay a host of state laws, citing the unprecedented challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. The request by the League of California Cities includes everything from environmental rules to public records laws that give people a window into how the government spends public money. League spokeswoman Kayla Woods says cities are only seeking a waiver for documents not related to the coronavirus response, but local governments have already denied some requests. She says cities are focusing on responding to the public health crisis. Gov. Gavin Newsom's office did not respond to a query about whether he is considering the suspensions.
  • Sac City Unified secures 20,000 chromebooks for distance learning: Plans for distance learning are coming along at Sacramento City Unified School District. As labor unions and the district negotiate on the proposed April 13 start date for classes, the district secured 20,000 Chromebooks for students and have started training for teachers. “We commend our educators for their efforts to take on this new challenge. We know that time is of the essence and we want to ensure the SCUSD community that we are working round the clock to provide students with an equitable solution for learning during this unprecedented health crisis,” said Sac City Unified Superintendent Jorge Aguilar.  


Coronavirus Background

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Currently, there is no vaccine; however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness:

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Stay home when you are sick.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  6. Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.


Some people have compared the low overall death toll to the flu's high annual death toll in the United States as a reason not to be concerned about COVID-19, however, doctors and health officials are concerned for three main reasons:

  1. Some people have built up immunity to the flu, but few have immunity to COVID-19 version of coronavirus
  2. Both the flu and COVID-19 are spread by droplets, but COVID-19 might be spread in the air. Scientists are researching exactly how COVID-19 spreads.



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