This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento City Unified School District is pausing extracurricular activities as COVID-19 cases continue to climb and its schools try to work through major staff shortages.

In an update posted Monday, SCUSD’s Health Services Team announced activities like field trips, dances, rallies, food fairs and non-essential tournaments would have to be put on pause. Activities that are tied to athletics, band and clubs can still take place but will have to follow health guidelines, SCUSD said.

“So we look at some of those events where large groups of people might come together, even if it is outdoors, you know, the potential for that kind of spread,” said Victoria Flores, a spokesperson for the district. “We just really wanted to be cautious and careful so that we can keep our schools and our classrooms safely open.” 

SCUSD said it is also implementing “interim” isolation guidance as the county waits for more information from the state.

“Please note, we expect additional CDPH guidance sometime this week, so this interim guidance will likely change,” district health officials wrote in their update.

Sacramento County public health officials post exposure, isolation and quarantine guidance in the form of what it calls a “Decision Forest.” Six “trees” outline the steps students and staff should take if they either have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone else with the virus.

Sacramento County cases have only increased since the holidays. The county last reported a seven-day average case rate of 189.5 per 100,000 people. That number has more than doubled since the first of the year when the county recorded the case rate at 93.6.

Within the school district, there were 322 active COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday. The majority of those cases, 317, are among students.

The district’s dashboard showed only seven people are in quarantine and all come from within the Ken McCoy Academy for Excellence at Bowling Green Charter School.

District officials said there were 586 staff absences last week, with only 50% being covered by substitute teachers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Tuesday night allowing districts to bypass teaching certificates in order to recruit substitute teachers in the community to keep students in school. 

Christina Setzer, an SCUSD teacher and parent, said it’s important for students to be in school, but so many students and teachers are having to miss so much time because of quarantine.

“It’s just, it’s concerning because we do know that having schools open is really important to the well-being of communities,” Setzer told FOX40. “It’s just really difficult because I don’t want to say, like, the proper thing to do is close everything down and everyone wait at home until the wave passes because that’s not realistic for so many families.”

Flores said it is a kind of balancing act for staff to care for students while still keeping themselves safe.

“We know that many of our students rely on those activities for their well-being and their mental health,” she said. “So we’re always just balancing what’s health and safety and what’s also well-being.” 

Flores said if the state or local ordinances call for it, the district may have to go back to hybrid learning. 

“Should things change, we are not, at this time, closing schools,” Flores explained. “If we had to do that, if that was something that the state was implementing or a local order, you know, we would probably be looking at going back to what we did before.”

SCUSD officials said last week they were working to communicate with staff and families on virtual options.

“Encouraging our families and our students to use those electronic means, that Google Classroom to be able to stay up,” Flores said at the time.

SCUSD officials did say they expect to see quite a jump in positive cases when its COVID-19 dashboard is updated on Friday.