- El Cerrito High School
REVISED Community Update: March 12 Coronavirus Update and District Closing
*This has been updated to reflect a change in the student meal location pick up school sites.
March 12, 2020
Dear WCCUSD community,
Closing schools is never an easy decision. We know how much schools build and foster community for students, staff, families, and community members. However in an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to close all of the schools in the District due to the concerns over coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community.
Schools will be closed for three weeks, starting Monday, March 16 and will reopen on Monday, April 6. Spring Break will be moved up to the week of March 30.
On Friday, March 13, all students will be dismissed at noon to allow teachers to plan for online learning that will take place over the next two weeks of school. All staff will remain through the regular work day.
According to Contra Costa Health Services, there have been no confirmed cases of children or staff at schools testing positive for COVID-19. However, there have been several cases of students and staff coming into contact with people who have potentially contracted the disease and that has understandably caused significant concern. It is my hope that taking this step will help reduce the spread of the virus and allow our community an opportunity to rest and regroup after trying to navigate this stressful situation.
While the county health department has recommended that schools remain open and at this writing guidance from the California Department of Public Health says school closure should be considered only when there is a confirmed case of a student or staff member at a school testing positive for the virus. The health care community has been overwhelmed and not been able to verify or test each potential exposure leaving us in a position of uncertainty. However, our community has made it clear that it is no longer willing to wait for a confirmed case to appear at one of our schools.
We are not equipped nor do we have adequate resources to track down the multiple second- and third-hand cases and reports, both true and untrue, and determine which classrooms, schools and offices need to be closed, further cleaned or provided with other support. We also worry about our ability to staff our schools over the coming weeks as more and more adults continue to prioritize their own health and the health of their families.
Closing schools for such a long time is a tremendous logistical challenge. We want to provide as many services as possible while the campuses are shutdown and have made arrangements to clean the schools and provide distance learning and meal distribution to students.
Students will be expected to continue their educational journey while not in school. For the first two weeks, we will use our 1-to-1 technology program to administer a distance learning plan for students in grades 2-12. Specific detailed instructions will be given to students and families on Friday, March 13, and available on the District website, starting Friday afternoon.
The district will be offering meals to students at two schools during the closure. Meals can be picked up at Richmond and Kennedy high schools. The meals will be available between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
This crisis is affecting all members of the community, including District employees. We are working collaboratively with our bargaining unit representatives to ensure that employees are also supported during this time.
This is a situation that none of us have experienced before. Please be patient with us as we figure out how best to continue educating students during this unprecedented time.
More detailed information will be available tomorrow and there will be a dedicated web presence to answer more specific questions. Again, details coming.
Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.