East Bay school districts close classrooms due to COVID-19

Following a growing number of school closures statewide, school districts in the East Bay, including Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro announced Friday that classroom instruction will cease until, at least, April 6, the day most students will return from spring break. Alameda school officials are also expected to announce school closures following an emergency school board on Friday afternoon.

Classes in Oakland, including child development centers, will close at 6 p.m. today, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said on Friday.

“All OUSD employees will also continue to work and be paid throughout this period, although exact responsibilities and worksite locations may vary. During this period, each school will receive a deep cleaning,” Johnson-Trammell added.

“Because of the evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic, we hope to be able to resume instruction on Monday, April 6, but will continually assess the conditions to determine the best time for reopening schools.”

San Leandro schools will also close immediately through April 6, San Leandro Unified School District Superintendent Michael McLaughlin said on Friday. Spring break for San Leandro students will be moved up to the week of Mar. 30, he added.

“This was yet another extremely difficult decision, knowing that schools are an essential service, but we are facing a rapidly developing health crisis,” McLaughlin said. “Yesterday’s public health announcement of four new coronavirus cases in Alameda County, two of which are the county’s first cases of community-acquired transmission, added to our concerns.”

Alameda school officials allowed the parents of students worried about the coronavirus outbreak to keep their children at home on Friday. The absences would be mark as excused, the school district said on Thursday. An emergency meeting of the school board on Friday will include discussion of whether to follow neighboring school districts and cancel classes in Alameda.