Elk Grove Unified Shuts Down Over Coronavirus Fears

The largest school district in Northern California has closed its doors after a student and their family tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This marks the first time an entire district has canceled instruction, reports the Sacramento Bee



Saturday’s announcement affects 64,000 students across 67 different schools. The move has been criticized by a number of observers including the Sacramento Bee’s Marcos Breton, who wrote that the closure “was rolled out with little or no coordination between the county’s public health department or key elected officials in Sacramento.”


If county health officials were communicating with the Elk Grove district all along then that message didn’t get out to county elected officials.

They were all caught flat-footed: Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, the chair of the board this year, learned about the Elk Grove announcement when word of the district closure caused his phone to “blow up.”

Serna was at a campaign event for a colleague in the Arden Arcade area Saturday afternoon when he learned. With him was Sacramento Democratic state Sen. Richard Pan, a doctor, who has spent weeks trying to calm public fears about the coronavirus. With them was Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento.

All of them learned at the same time and without warning.

Elk Grove’s decision could have had long-lasting impacts on the Sheldon High School boys basketball team, but parents spoke out just in time.

Capital Public Radio reports:

When the Elk Grove school district announced it would cancel classes and all student activities due to coronavirus fears, it seemed to extinguish championship hopes for the top-ranked Sheldon High School boys basketball team, which had to forfeit its tournament game on Saturday night...

After a discussion with regional leaders, Elk Grove school officials reached out to the California Interscholastic Federation, and the Sheldon game was rescheduled. The boys basketball team, seeded No. 1 in the region for the CIF tournament, is tentatively scheduled to play Dublin High School at Cosumnes River College on Tuesday night.

A number of other California schools have canceled classes amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The virus continues to spread. Statewide cases have now increased to 114. That number is expected to grow as more testing kits become available. Fresno announced its first case Friday. Riverside County has declared a state of emergency and San Francisco has canceled non-essential events on city-owned property. Meanwhile, 2,500 confined cruise ship passengers docked at the Port of Oakland Monday and are getting ready to disembark today. Nearly two dozen people aboard have tested positive for COVID-19.

See also:

Coronavirus Q&A: What California parents and students should know about COVID-19