Sacramento County’s 13 school districts will continue their campus closures through May 1 in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Dave Gordon, the superintendent at the Sacramento County Office of Education, announced the extension of the closures on March 27.
“Our primary concern is the well-being of our students, staff, and families,” he said in a press statement. “It is absolutely crucial we all work together to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The county’s original plan was to reopen schools on April 13. The Elk Grove Unified School District’s campuses have been closed since March 7 after family members of a few students tested positive for coronavirus.
As of March 30, Sacramento County has 244 confirmed coronavirus cases and seven COVID-19 related deaths, according to the county’s public health officials.
The Elk Grove school district, which serves nearly 64,000 students in a 330-square-mile area, is moving forward with plans to resume classes via “distance learning.” Starting in mid-April, students will stay at home and access their classes through the internet.
Middle and high school students will start their online courses on April 16 while elementary school students will begin on April 20.
Elk Grove school district officials said they will continue the rest of the current academic year through online classes. Plans are for all schools, regardless of their academic calendars, to end the 2019-20 school year on May 29.
Elk Grove Unified now has the challenge to connect all students to the internet from home within a few weeks. They plan to lend Google Chromebook computers to students who lack computers. The district has used Chromebooks for student testing in the past.
Members of the district’s communications staff detailed the distance learning plan in a YouTube video on March 27.
“We want to ensure that everyone who really needs a Chromebook is able to get one,” said Sundeep Dosanjh, a web and communications specialist for the district.
Families who own a Windows PC, Mac, or Apple iPad can also access the online courses, his staff said. Online access will be limited to students, they said.
The school district is now trying to secure “mobile hotpots” where students can log online through a Wi-Fi connection.
Three local internet providers are now offering low-cost or free service to families who qualify, the district staff said. These providers are Comcast Essentials, AT&T Access, and Consolidated Communications. Those who prefer to use Frontier Communications are asked to contact them about their services.
For more information about the school district’s distance learning plans, visit www.EGUSD.net/COVID-19. Visitors are advised to click on the webpage’s “Internet Access Resources” for Families link.