The West Contra Costa Unified School District announced it will keep all schools closed Friday and Monday due to staffing shortages and student illness.
According to the District Dashboard, they have 90 staff cases, 563 student cases and 55 classroom closures. King Elementary School is closed through January 14 due to COVID.
In Contra Costa County, the health department is showing an average new cases per day at 1,255 with 119 hospitalized.
The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) was established in 1965. It covers the cities of El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, Pinole, and Hercules and the unincorporated areas of Bayview-Montalvin Manor, East Richmond Heights, El Sobrante, Kensington, North Richmond, and Tara Hills.
The message was posted to the District website.
Here is the notice:
Dear WCCUSD community:
This has been a very challenging week for school communities across our district. The omicron variant spike in cases happening across the country is greatly impacting our schools as well. In our district, we are seeing far more staff absences than usual because of the virus, and we also have an increased number of students testing positive for COVID-19 as we return from winter break.
This is putting an immense strain on our system. The rapid spread of the virus requires an aggressive response to ensure safety. To alleviate some of the pressure and allow more time for those in our community who are out sick to heal, I am announcing that we will have two “smoke days” coming up, on Friday, January 7 and Monday, January 10.
All district schools will be closed for students and staff on both of these days. These are flexible days off the state allows us to use at our discretion. All schools will undergo a deep cleaning on Friday, January 7; all schools and district offices as well will be closed on Monday, January 10.
The safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and closing school to prevent further outbreaks is an action we take very seriously and will only do when it is absolutely necessary. I do encourage all of our students and staff to quarantine as much as possible during the smoke days.
Please get tested before returning to school on Tuesday, January 11, through a rapid test at home or through your healthcare provider. Please note that all district offices are closed on Monday, January 10, which includes our three new testing sites:
at the Alvarado Adult School in Richmond; the Ohlone Elementary School campus in Hercules; and the district central office in Richmond. These testing sites are regularly open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Monday, January 10. Please also note that you must register and make an appointment.
If your student is feeling sick or exhibiting any symptoms, please do not bring them to school.
We will continue to closely monitor our COVID-19 caseloads and our staffing situation. This week, district central office staff have been deployed to school sites to help as much as possible. We will do whatever is necessary and possible to ensure students are safe and school can continue.
Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst