Families speak out to Sacramento officials about school closures in Elk Grove

Coronavirus

ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) – At a press conference Sunday, Sacramento elected officials addressed concerns over Elk Grove Unified School District’s decision to cancel classes and activities amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

What started as a gathering for news media, quickly turned into a platform for parents and students to voice their concerns.

Dozens of people from Sheldon High School’s basketball team showed up to get answers about why they were forced to forfeit their playoff game last night.

“That is unacceptable, we are the number one seed!” said Neketia Henry.

Dozens of basketball players and parents protested the decision to cancel Sheldon High School’s playoff game Saturday night.

“You have kids that are depending on this basketball tournament to go to college,” said Marvin Bagley Jr., father of Sheldon High School player Marcus Bagley and Sacramento King’s forward, Marvin Bagley III.

The Elk Grove Unified School District announced all classes and school activities would shut down from March 7 through the 13 after a family member in the district tested positive for COVID-19, the new coronavirus.

Health Services Director Peter Beilenson says, moving forward, there needs to be a more formal decision-making process before any cancellations.

“There was a late-night discussion with them. We were part of the decision, but it was in the kind of fast-tracked,” said Sacramento County Health Services Director Dr. Peter Beilenson.

He stopped short of saying the call to cancel school was a mistake but did say the circumstances do not follow newly-released state guidelines.

“Right now, we have no cases in the schools,” said Beilenson.

From now on, he says the decision to shut down a school will be made if a student is diagnosed, not a family member.

“If there are multiple cases in a set of schools, particularly in a single school district, we will look at closing an entire school district,” said Beilenson.

While parents were glad to hear of this new plan of action, it does little to calm their worries.

The only way to make it right in their eyes would be to let these boys back on the court.

“It’s almost like their dream is literally being snatched from them,” said Bagley Jr.

After the news conference, the California Interscholastic Federation announced the tournament play between Sheldon High School and Dublin High School is tentatively back on for Tuesday, March 10.

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