Live Coverage: Student lives at GBHS change in response to coronavirus pandemic

GBHS cancels activities after school hours in attempts to curb the coronavirus


U.S. Centers for Disease Control

This graph from the federal Centers for Disease Control is a visual representation of the goal of social distancing, a strategy the school district is attempting to implement.

Update (April 3): Roseville Joint Union High School District schools will be closed for the rest of the school year.

Update: Roseville Joint Union High School District schools will be closed from March 16 to April 14 following a directive from the Placer County Department of Education to close down all schools in the county for three weeks, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee this afternoon.

It is unclear whether or not this closure will cause schools in the district to be in session during projected summer-break dates.

Within the last two weeks, the Roseville Joint Union School District cancelled all after school activities, including athletics, Powderpuff, junior prom and the March SAT.

According to an update from the RJUHSD SignalKit messaging system, all spring athletics practices and games have been cancelled until April 13.

“I’m in volleyball. They made us cut practice early,” said junior Jeremy Demure, a varsity volleyball player. “They texted us midway through saying we had to stop and be done.”

Many student athletes are disappointed by this development. 

“I was really looking forward to being able to perform better (in track) than I did last season,” junior Stephanie Bradley said.

There is a similar sentiment among students who were registered for the GBHS March SAT on Saturday, although Rocklin High School has cancelled its SAT as well.

“My initial reaction was one of surprise, because my initial assumption was that these activities would only be cancelled if school itself was cancelled,” said sophomore Tibu Batriedo. He is a member of the speech and debate team at GBHS, and despite disappointment at cancelled after-school practices, he sees it as “a necessary sacrifice.”

“Those who are motivated to keep up certain extracurricular activities will certainly look for ways to continue them online or off-campus,” he added.

These cancellations are GBHS’s attempt at following district guidelines regarding the coronavirus through social distancing, defined as “closing schools, canceling large gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine if symptomatic, and avoiding crowds” by an RJUHSD FAQs for COVID-19 document.

Just recently, a family at Woodcreek High School self-quarantined themselves during the last week of February, in response to a possible contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Sacramento County.

Superintendent Denise Herrmann sent out an email to families on Feb. 28, and affirmed that there are “no plans to cancel school.”

However, despite cancelling school events and activities extraneous from the normal school day, many students and faculty said they believe that social distancing through shutting down the school and moving online would be ideal for curbing spread of coronavirus, should a case appear in the local community.

“I am in agreement with the district guidelines,” said Elizabeth Henderson, a physics and chemistry teacher at GBHS. She said that to truly follow those guidelines, the school should move online.

“We have no way, in a class, to physically space out students to meet the recommended guidelines on social distancing with 36 students in a classroom,” Henderson said. “Shutting down school (helps) slow the spread of disease.”

Salwa Baki is an aunt to GBHS junior Heba Bounar and is a Moroccan doctor in Italy, a country that has been hit with a large number of COVID-19 confirmed cases, for a research project.

According to her, in addition to travel bans and a national request to close stores and restaurants, some schools are closed until April 3,” and schools with the capacity to go online have switched teaching mediums to try and suppress infection rates, a goal that RJUHSD’s shares with their attempts at social distancing.

Herrmann’s email followed a letter from Executive Director of Wellness Judy Fischer, sent Feb. 27 to families regarding the coronavirus.

Along with a list of COVID-19 symptoms from the Center of Disease Control for families to keep an eye out for, Fischer’s letter said the district is working with the Placer County Office of Education and the Placer County Department of Health and Human Services to establish procedures for all high schools in the district.

Since then, Fischer has sent out a current total of six newsletters to RJUHSD families, outlining district actions towards COVID-19.

However, there is community speculation on whether or not the district’s actions are effective.

“We have no way of knowing whether coronavirus prevention at GBHS is working or not because of the lack of testing,” said sophomore Batriedo. ” Without testing how could we ever know whether these measures are unnecessary burden or unnecessary sacrifices?” assistant editor Heba Bounar contributed to this report.