The Santa Clara County Public Health Department announced today that all Santa Clara County public schools will be closed from March 16 through April 3 in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.
County Superintendent of Schools Mary Ann Dewan made the announcement that closes the schools to student attendants, saying that the decision was in collaboration with County Health Department and the CDC. Dewan continued to say that district offices will remain open to provide services and all essential staff should report to work — the closures are to student attendants. She also said that, at this time, they don’t anticipate that students will have to make up days of instruction.
“Public Health supports this decision, which is designed to provide schools with the time needed to put plans in place to comply with public health guidance and ensure they are able to operate in a manner that facilitates social distancing,” said the County in a statement.
County Health Officer and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department Dr. Sara Cody confirmed that there are now 79 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Santa Clara County. Dr. Cody said that they expect the outbreak to accelerate in the County and that the number of cases will continue to increase.
According to Dr. Cody, cases have increased three-fold in the last week. She said 43 of the current cases are from community spread and she said 36 cases are hospitalized.
The County Health Department passed down a mandatory order that bans public gatherings of more than 100 staring tomorrow morning at 12 a.m and will remain in place for at least 3 weeks. Additionally, gatherings of 35 – 100 are also banned unless the organizers follow certain rules:
- Organizers must ensure that people are able to have 6 ft distance between them
- There has to be hand hygiene and sanitizer available at the venue
- Organizers must discourage those who are sick to attend and must monitor this
- Organizers must discourage high-risk individuals from attending
- Organizers who required payment must allow attendants to cancel and provide refunds
- Organizers must follow guidelines for cleaning, before, during, and after the gathering
“The ban does not include normal operations at airports or spaces where persons may be in transit; office environments; classrooms; medical offices, hospitals, or clinics; or retail, pharmacy, or grocery stores where large numbers of people may be present,” Dr. Cody said regarding the order.
They emphasized that high risk individuals stay home and don’t travel. They highly discouraged going on cruise and traveling by air only when necessary.
There are “aggressive measures” admitted Dr. Cody. “These are very difficult times,” she said. She called the current coronavirus situation a one of the most difficult “historic public health challenges of our time.”
“The goal is to slow the spread of infection,” said Dr. Cody.
More information on the County’s website.