Update: 9:07 p.m.

San Francisco school officials late Thursday afternoon announced that seven students at Glen Park Elementary School reported with respiratory illnesses. The school district is immediately closing the school down based on the recommendation from the Department of Public Health. Health officials are testing the students for the coronavirus.

Officials with the San Francisco Unified School District Thursday afternoon announced the closure of all public schools for three weeks to slow the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as Covid-19. The schools will be closed as of Monday and through April 3.

At a press conference Thursday, Superintendent Vincent Matthews said:

“This will be a three-week closure for students. All school buildings, activities for students, including school day instruction, extracurricular activities, childcare before and after school services, health services, enrichment, are canceled.”

Matthews added:

“The San Francisco Unified School District is taking the time to prepare school communities in the likelihood of a prolong Covid-19 epidemic. This is not business as usual.”

School district officials announced the closure of Lakeshore Elementary School Wednesday night after four students reported respiratory illnesses. The Department of Public Health recommended the campus be closed for 14 days and said the four students will be tested for coronavirus.

Eric Heath on Flickr Cesar Chavez Elementary School in San Francisco, Calif. will be closed beginning March 16 and through April 6, 2020 as part of a district-wide decision to close all San Francisco Unified School District schools in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Officials made the proactive district-wide closure decision in lieu of reactionary measures, closing schools one by one as presumptive cases emerge. Matthews said the school district and city partners are collaborating to provide services for families and students over the next three weeks.

SFUSD Board President Mark Sanchez said that some faculty and staff will need to report to their schools next week. During the week of March 23, faculty will meet to plan for the students’ April 6 return.

Matthews said the district is working on ways to provide meals during the closure period for students who rely on the school’s meal program and are looking for alternative childcare services for families in need.

However, the superintendent admits he does not yet have all the answers.

While seeking other childcare options, Sanchez cautioned against sending students to be supervised by older relatives, such as grandparents who could be vulnerable members of the population defined by Department of Public Health.

Parents and guardians of students can visit the school’s district website for daily updates.

It was also announced Thursday that the California Academy of Sciences and The Exploratorium will both be closed through the end of March.

Earlier in the day, Mayor London Breed announced that city employees impacted by the virus will be granted up to 80 hours of advanced vacation time and paid sick leave.

The total number of confirmed cases in The City rose to 18, health officials reported Thursday.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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