Sacramento City Unified Keeps Students on Campus Through Testing Program
Demonstrates extensive testing capabilities and response a key component in maintaining in-person learning through cases at New Joseph Bonnheim

Press release

Sacramento, CA – Sacramento City Unified School District today announced the status of its response to 24 cases at New Joseph Bonnheim Charter School since its reopening on Aug. 9. While Sacramento County Public Health (SCPH) initially recommended a school closure, SCPH reversed its initial recommendation after further evaluation and consultation of the district’s capability to quickly respond with testing and staffing to provide tests to all students and staff. 

Out of the 192 PCR tests provided to students and staff on campus this week, the district confirmed two positive cases with the positivity rate of 1.04 percent. This is much lower than the positivity rate in Sacramento County, which was 6.8 percent last week. These results provide strong evidence of the district’s site-based testing strategy and the effectiveness of the district’s health and safety protocols. Therefore, based on these results and the ongoing response from the district, the school will remain open. 

“Our district is proud to offer this easy access to testing for our students and staff and we are proud that we were able to respond to this situation so quickly and effectively,” said Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar. “Along with the strong and layered health and safety measures at each school, getting tested regularly is a key component in keeping our community safe. I encourage all of our students and staff to take advantage of these extensive testing services at SCUSD.” 

The response was not only swift, but strategic. By starting testing using a rapid response strategy the district was able to quickly isolate positive cases and determine no new cases on campus. Once a baseline was established through rapid testing results, SCPH informed the district additional PCR testing would be required for three weeks. As the district is already providing testing at each school site, through the support of the CDPH Testing Task Force, it is able to accommodate this requirement ​by using PCR testing which provides results in approximately 24 to 48 hours to continue safely providing students with uninterrupted in-person learning.

“We are encouraged by the results so far and are requiring that the district continue with weekly testing for the next two weeks as we monitor this ongoing situation,” said Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health Officer. “We are also encouraged by the response from Sac City Unified to a very difficult situation and their ability to conduct testing on site. Because of this testing program and the ability of the district to respond so quickly and effectively, the district has the ability to keep the school open.” 

In addition to the testing, the district also responded by meeting with the SCPH, and Sacramento County Office of Education on next steps to protect not only the New Joseph Bonnheim Community Charter School, but the community surrounding the school site as well. As noted by SCPH, “given that this is a relatively small, tight-knit community, and that the region as a whole has high community case counts and transmission, it appears more likely that transmission is occurring outside of the school campus.”

The district, along with its community partners including SCPH, Curative, La Familia, the City of Sacramento, and Councilmember Eric Guerra, hosted a vaccination clinic at the site on Friday, Sept. 10. The district will also promote additional events in the coming days.