WCCUSD closing all schools for two days due to omicron impacts

0
3641
Richmond student journalists honored with countywide awards
Photo credit: Mike Kinney

All West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) schools will be closed Friday and Monday due to the surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the fast-spreading omicron variant.

“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,” WCCUSD Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Chris Hurst said in a notice to school communities today. “This is putting an immense strain on our system.”

The school closure days will be classified as “smoke days,” which are flexible days off allowed by the state. The superintendent said the days off will serve to “alleviate some of the pressure and allow more time for those in our community who are out sick to heal.”

On Friday, all schools will undergo a deep cleaning, Hurst said.

Hurst urged testing among staff and students prior to the return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 11, and advised that district/school-based testing sites will be closed Friday and Monday. He also encouraged all students and staff to quarantine as much as possible.

“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,” he said, adding, “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.”

The school closure days follow a number of other steps taken by the district amid the omicron surge, including postponing athletic events (although not practices) for two weeks, supplying required medical grade KN-95 masks to teachers, and distributing 15,000 COVID-19 test kits to students before the start of school after the winter break.

Related news:

WCCUSD postpones athletic events for two weeks amid omicron surge | Richmond Standard

WCCUSD to require that staff wear KN-95 masks at school sites | Richmond Standard

WCCUSD distributes 15K COVID-19 test kits to students before start of school | Richmond Standard