Close Schools in San Ramon Unified School District to avoid COVID-19

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S. HO started this petition to San Ramon Unified School District officials

The COVID-19 virus is inevitably spreading in our community and posing serious threats to both children/staffs in Tri-Valley schools and their families. We have to urge the school district to take proactive measures before it is too late.

As parents of the students in the San Ramon Unified School District, we strongly request that the school district offers the students the option of excused absences so that their parents can keep the students at home, or close schools immediately when necessary, in order to protect their families and prevent virus spreading in the community. 

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has now spread to over 91,000 people around the globe and has caused more than 3,000 deaths, both totals higher than the SARS and MERS epidemics of the past. These numbers have been increasing rapidly in the last few days. Recently, 53 people have tested positive and 1 died for the COVID-19 in California, and at least 2 people tested positive in the Tri-Valley area. As we write this, more than 8,400 people in a nursing facility await testing for the virus in California. Many of those infected may have been out in the community, spreading this virus without knowing it. Many students might be infected, and may bring the virus to school. This triggers an emergency alert to the school district, as we can learn many lessons from the worsening situation in Seattle. We believe that now is the best time to take active measures to prevent the spreading of the COVID-19 virus in schools.

As we have already known, the COVID-19 virus may lay dormant in the body for two weeks or even more before any symptoms emerge. The close proximity in classrooms, dining halls and other crowded areas will inevitably increase infection rates. Although some very limited evidences suggested that the virus may not be particularly lethal to many of the students who are young and healthy, unfortunately, many students are medically fragile, and this virus may be deadly to them.  Also, many students go home to vulnerable adults, such as disabled parents, grandparents and infant siblings.

More importantly, the most recent studies published in the mainstream professional media, such as Nature and Lancet, have scientifically proved that children are as susceptible to the COVID-19 as adults. The studies (e.g., the article titled Coronavirus latest: children are as susceptible as adults, study suggests. published in Nature News on March 5, 2020) also prove that although showing no symptoms, children infected with the virus can spread the virus and infect people around them including other students in the classrooms, their teachers, as well as their families. This will lead to extremely dangerous situations and result in catastrophic consequences, posing extreme threat to the public, particularly those who are immunocompromised or elderly, and we must act immediately to keep students, their families, and the community safe.

Given the aforementioned situations, some children and family members may be at higher risk for severe illness because of underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system. We also see the active measures that are already taken by other states (e.g., Seattle Public Schools is excusing all health-related absences, including COVID-19. A child does not need to present symptoms to receive an excused absence) and other school districts (e.g., Cupertino and Santa Clara school district) in the northern California in order to protect the community and prevent spreading of the virus.

Therefore, we urge the school district to make the responsible decisions to keep the students, and their families safe. We strongly request that

PUSD immediately closes the schools when it is necessary, and provides online courses to students when schools are shut down.

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