Black Pine Circle School closed for two days last week in an effort to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus, as previously reported by Berkeleyside.
The private elementary and middle school initially closed for two days after learning that the family of a student may have been at risk of exposure to the disease. The closure has since been extended until March 12 while the family receives tests, according to Black Pine Circle spokesperson Lesley Jones.
Berkeley Unified School District, or BUSD, does not currently plan to close any of its schools, according to a press release from Superintendent Brent Stephens. According to Stephens, the district, like many other places, has had trouble acquiring resources to combat the spread of the disease.
“Like other districts, we have had only limited success ordering additional cleaning supplies, wipes, and hand sanitizer,” Stephens said in the release. “We have placed an order, but have not been told when these supplies will arrive.”
While BUSD is not planning closures of its schools, the same cannot be said of UC Berkeley, which announced Monday that in-person classes will be canceled from March 10 to March 29, the end of spring break.
UC Berkeley currently has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the city of Berkeley has only had one confirmed case, which was reported March 3.
The COVID-19 total mortality rate is estimated at 3.4% by the World Health Organization as of March 3. Most of these deaths, however, have been concentrated in the elderly population — according to a Feb. 29 estimate, those of age 80 and older experience a mortality rate of 14.8%, while 10 to 39-year-olds have a mortality rate of only 0.2%. There have been no reported deaths in children under nine years old to date.
“The well-being of our students and staff is our top priority,” Stephens said in the email. “While there is no way to predict how COVID-19 will spread in Berkeley, we are developing plans to address the possibility of school closures.”