Experts Question Why Some California Schools Remain Open With Coronavirus Pandemic

Kathy Novak
March 14, 2020 - 1:57 pm
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

Many schools in the Bay Area have decided to close, but so far, California’s not calling for all schools in the state to cancel classes.  

The California Teacher’s Association says all schools should close, and some experts agree with that.

University of California at Davis microbiology professor Jonathan Eisen knows there's a lot to consider when closing schools, including free meals for students who need them and childcare for the kids of medical workers. 

“It is a complicated decision, but given what we estimate is going on with the infection in the population, this is a really important measure for reducing the spread,” Eisen told KCBS Radio. “And I emphasize ‘estimate’ before because, unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of testing, so we don’t know what’s going on.”

That is why he thinks the state guidelines if someone tests positive need to be changed. 

In a statement, the California Department of Public Health says it stands by its guidelines.

Professor Eisen says that’s not going far enough, based on the information we do have. 

“Very good epidemiologists and infectious diseases people who are extrapolating from that have been saying for a few weeks that we need to shut down large gatherings,” Eisen said. “We need to shut down mixing and interaction among people or we will absolutely be like Italy very soon.”