All Natomas Area Schools to Remain Open

Local School Officials Respond to Elk Grove District Closure

Pop up message on the Twin Rivers Unified School District which links to current information about COVID-19, including letter sent home to families.

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

An update on this evolving story can be found here.

Classes will be in session tomorrow at all Natomas-area public schools.

Both Natomas Unified and Twin Rivers Unified school districts, along with Natomas-area public charter schools, messaged parents over the weekend to confirm that school will be in session Monday, March 9.

This move comes after Elk Grove Unified School District announced over the weekend it is suspending all classes and school-related activities, including clubs and prep sports, amid concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.

But a joint statement issued by the Sacramento County Office of Education and Sacramento County Public Health Department assured parents there is no immediate risk and no recommendation from public health officials to close any individual school or school district .

“We want to reassure local school districts and the public that, to date, there are no diagnosed cases of novel coronavirus involving students or school staff in Sacramento County,” read the statement.

While Elk Grove school officials moved to shut down its schools, shifting spring break from mid April to this coming week, Natomas and Twin Rivers school officials confirmed over the weekend they currently do not plan to follow suit.

“This is the first time we have faced a virus like this in the age of 24-hour news cycles and widespread social media usage,” read the message sent Saturday to families with students attending schools in the Natomas Unified School District. “Unlike fires, flooding, and other natural challenges, we do not yet have science to tell us when COVID-19 will stop being an issue of concern. We cannot just close schools for a week, or two weeks, or even a month and promise that a return to normalcy will come soon.”

Natomas Unified in its message promised to monitor the status of COVID-19 in the county and district daily and pledged to work with the Sacramento County Office of Education and Sacramento County Public Health Department when making decisions in the best interest of its students, staff, and families.

“If we feel taking some time, letting students stay home for some time next week may help, we will make that decision and communicate to you,” read the Natomas Unified message.

Twin Rivers Superintendent Steve Martinez on Saturday sent a message to families with students in that district.

“I want to provide you with an update on the steps that we are taking to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19), and to confirm that at this time we have no diagnosed cases reported in the Twin Rivers USD,” Martinez tweeted, along with links to the letter sent home and the county statement. “Schools will be open on Monday, March 9, and all services shall remain uninterrupted.”

Officials at Westlake Charter School, likewise on Saturday confirmed the K-8 campus in Natomas has no known cases of COVID-19 at the school, and have not been recommended to close.

“…we feel that it is our responsibility to our community to be prepared for anything,” read the message to Westlake Charter families from Executive Director John Eick. “Therefore, we are asking that every family complete our distance learning survey for each of your students. This survey will let us know if your child has access to the internet and a device that can be used for distance learning.”

This information, the message said, will help Westlake Charter plan for students to participate in distance learning if there ever is a need to close the campus for an extended period.

Natomas Charter executive director Joe Wood also asked parents to complete a technology survey in a message home to families on Saturday. The responses, he wrote, will be used to evaluate technology and non-technology based learning options for all students should the school be required to close for a few days.

“We continue to evaluate the situation daily with our regional partners including Natomas Unified School District, Sacramento County Department of Public Health, and charter schools in the community,” the message read. “Any future school closure decisions will be made with a focus on student and staff safety with direction from public health agencies.”

Earlier today, Sunday, Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep’s leadership team messaged families with children in its K-12 programs that classes will be in session on Monday.

“We continue to monitor developments closely in coordination with Sacramento County Public Health and follow all guidance to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and community,” read the message. “This is a rapidly evolving situation and we remain prepared to take action as needed, including school closures if warranted.”

A representative for SAVA Charter School confirmed the Natomas campus will also be in session tomorrow.

All Natomas-area schools have reported implementing cleaning and sanitation practices in response to concerns about COVID-19.

You may also be interested in:

Natomas Charter School COVID-19 information

Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep COVID-19 update

Natomas Unified School District COVID-19 update

Twin Rivers Unified School District COVID-19 information

Westlake Charter School COVID-19 update

Sacramento County Office of Education and Sacramento County Public Health joint statement

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