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Elk Grove Unified School District closes schools until March 13 over coronavirus

The school district cancelled classes after the Sacramento County Public Health Department notified them an EGUSD family tested positive for COVID-19.

ELK GROVE, Calif. — The Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) is canceling all classes after learning that an EGUSD family tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Sacramento County Public Health Department notified the district Friday that the family was put on quarantine, according to a press release from EGUSD.

EGUSD said that no student or staff has tested positive for COVID-19, to date.

"The district will close its schools, cancel classes and any student-related activities from March 7 to March 13, 2020," the school district said in a press release.

The decision will affects tens of thousands of families. Elk Grove Unified is the state's fifth largest school district by enrollment, with more than 63,000 students and 7,000 staff members, including substitute teachers, superintendent Christopher Hoffman said.

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An update on whether the school closures will be extended will be provided by the end of the day, Thursday, March 12, 2020.

"This complex decision involved close collaboration and coordination with our Board of Trustees, labor groups, the Sacramento County Office of Education and the Sacramento County Public Health Department," EGUSD said.

The district said it plan on moving up its April traditional/modified traditional spring break to the week of March 9 to March 13, 2020, to minimize the impact to student learning and any loss of school days, although this has to be approved by the School Board and unions.

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"We understand there are many concerns around COVID-19 and want to ensure families that we are working closely with SCPH for updates and guidance. For the latest information on COVID-19, families are encouraged to visit our EGUSD website, the SCPH webpage dedicated to COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus), and the CDC homepage," the district said.

Parents can contact EGUSD's safety and security unit with any questions regarding the closure.

"This is something that's weighed on all of us for weeks now, and the health and safety of the kids and my staff is always on the front of my mind," Supt. Hoffman said in a news conference Saturday afternoon. "I really think we bought the Elk Grove Unified School District, our staff and our kids, some time to be able to make the right decision moving forward."

He added, "I don't know where this is going, and I don't know that anybody knows where this is going, and that's the challenge. there was no easy answer here."

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:

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

The CDC also says facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the virus. If you’re not sick, you do not have to wear a facemask. The CDC says the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low.

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