School Closes to Slow Spread of Coronavirus

Rio will shut down at least through April 13 as part of coordinated effort to slow infections across region

Nicolas Gorman, Mirada Staff

Rio Americano and the rest of the San Juan district is closing at least through the end of spring break in order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. 

Ed Mahon
Principal Brian Ginter addresses staff after classes March 13, explaining how teachers should continue instruction during the school shutdown

As part of a coordinated effort, all public school districts in Sacramento, El Dorado and Yolo counties are closing schools starting after today. Over 400,000 students will be effected by the closures that are planned to last for a week to a month–including spring break. 

San Juan plans to reopen on April 13. 

During the shutdown, teachers will not be allowed to assign or collect work because not all students have access to computers or the internet. Instead, they have been instructed to keep virtual office hours and give students assignments for reading, enrichment and review. 

On March 12, the district banned all gatherings of over 150 people, which effectively cancels junior prom and, very likely, senior ball. 

There is no word yet on how the shutdown other efforts to slow the spread of novel coronavirus will effect AP testing

or graduation. 

The Sacramento region has so far not been hard hit by the coronavirus. There have been two deaths in the area. But there are no reports of young people being infected and no known cases in the San Juan district. 

“We want to stress that this action is a mitigation effort and is not the result of a confirmed case of COVID-19 among any of our students or staff in the district,” the district said in a statement. “It is also done with an abundance of concern for our students, staff members and community.”

The statement continued:

“We are involved in a highly fluid situation with constantly changing circumstances related to COVID-19. As we’ve shared previously, we continue to be in close contact with health officials and at their advice and in coordination with other school districts we have made the decision to close San Juan Unified campuses to students as of Monday, March 16. We will be closed to students through the end of spring break (Sunday, April 12), including athletics and all extracurricular activities.”

Whether the closure lasts beyond April 13 will depend on how the virus has spread at that time, according to school officials.

The district will continue to provide meals to students who depend on schools for nutrition. Check the school website (sanjuan.edu/rioamericano) for information on meal distribution sites. 

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said that slowing the coronavirus and taking care of vulnerable kids must be a coordinated effort. 

“Over the next few days we’ll be meeting with leaders of all our school districts to work to make sure our kids are safe, well taken care of and continue to get their education,” Steinberg wrote on Twitter. “We also need to make sure our employers support affected parents.”

 

 

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