More school districts announce closures amid virus spread

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A number of school districts in the Greater Sacramento region announced closures Friday in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Sacramento County Office of Education said all 13 of its school districts, including Sacramento City Unified and Elk Grove Unified, will close for up to three weeks starting Monday, March 16. The decision impacts 400 schools and 245,000 students.

“This decision was not made lightly as all districts recognize this may cause a hardship for some families. As districts have done in the past, they will make provisions for meals for students. Each district will continue to communicate directly with families and staff with updates,” district spokesman Tim Herrera said.

The Folsom Cordova Unified School District said it would also close for up to three weeks starting Monday.

Placer County said all of its schools would also close for three weeks, and urged parents to check the Spring Break schedules of their specific districts.

“Decisions like this are difficult to make, but we are taking this action based on what is known at this time about the transmission and severity of the illness to best protect our school communities,” Placer County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica said in a news release. “The most effective way to slow the transmission of this virus is to implement social distancing practices. We won’t take chances when it comes to the health and safety of our students.”

The Davis Joint Unified School District announced that its schools would be closed for nearly a month. All events, extracurricular activities, performances, athletic practices and competitions in the district were canceled, as well.

The district will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 12.

As of Friday afternoon, Yolo County has had one confirmed case of the virus — an older woman with underlying health issues — but health officials have not said whether it was in Davis.

The Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District announced a closure from March 16 through April 13. The district said on its website that parents and guardians should expect more information on education continuity and food services in the coming days.

Solano County also announced its schools were closing on Friday. The closure is in effect from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27.

“We did not take this decision lightly and recognize that this may cause a hardship for some families,” a news release from the district read. “Each school district and charter school will continue to communicate with families and staff with updates about re-opening, learning alternatives and the availability of school meals.”

The county said four Vacaville Unified School District schools — Markham Elementary, Willis Jepson Middle School, Vaca Pena Middle School and Will C. Wood High School — will provide meals for children during the closure.

The San Joaquin County Office of Education announced that starting on March 16 all of its schools would be closed until April 6.

“News of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its spread across the country and the region has been a cause of great concern. In San Joaquin County, the concern continued to grow this week with the confirmation of six cases of COVID-19, which show evidence of community transmission of the virus in our county,” said the SJCOE in a release.

New Jerusalem and Delta Charter Schools also announced that they will be closed until April 6.

Parents, students react to closures

Tatyana Matsyuk said without school she and her husband will have to take shifts with their children at home, likely missing work to do so.

“We are thinking about which days he is going to watch kids and which days I’ll be home watching kids, and then probably asking family like my sister, my dad,” she told FOX40.

With parents now scrambling to figure out what to do next, Twin Rivers School District Superintendent Dr. Steve Martinez said they are looking for help.

“We have a meeting tomorrow with a local delegation and we are going to look at nonprofits, what they can do during this time off,” Martinez said. “We are going to look for community resources and see if we can get those available to our students so they have something to do during this time off.”

Eighth grader Ahmad Niazi does not need the supervision that younger kids will, but the Sacramento student said he knows being stuck at home for weeks could quickly turn boring.

“One of the best things is to play video games and study, do some math problems,” he said.

Several districts across the region have decided to close as the novel coronavirus continues its spread. Find the latest information about these closures and current confirmed cases in our counties here.

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