Category Archives: Covid 19

Benicia Schools – March 13 9am update on coronavirus

Parents of Benicia students received this letter from Superintendent Charles Young at around 9am on March 13.  Note that later on the 13th, another letter announced a 2-week school closure throughout Solano County.

Dear Benicia Families.

Like all school districts, we are working closely with the health department regarding the effects of the CoronaVirus. Regarding the possibility of school closure, our staff has been working to provide continuous learning opportunities during any planned school closure timeline. All students have access to an online Virtual Learning Platform through Google Classroom.

Your students will be checking today to see if they can log into their Google Classroom and will be bringing home their login information so they can access their classes from home. While we will not be able to mirror the regular classroom experience, staff is working to provide a level of ongoing learning with the goal of keeping students engaged as we navigate potential school closure timelines.

We are asking every family to complete this SHORT SURVEY [link deleted here – intended only for Benicia students’ families] about your child’s ability to access technology devices (i.e. phone, computer, iPads, etc.) and internet at home. Thank you for completing this survey as early as possible so we can plan to address any potential needs. 

We know closing schools for any duration can be a burden to families and we want to provide as many services as possible during this time. We are also working on plans to continue providing student meals at selected schools during any closure.

We will keep you updated throughout the day including additional details and information as we continue to develop plans to keep learning going in the event of school closure.

Thank you for your patience and partnership during this challenging time.

Dr. Charles Young

Maddow interview: how China handled coronavirus – a model for U.S.

[BenIndy Editor: This 6-minute interview is a wake-up call for the U.S., a detailed description of how China has attacked the coronavirus.  This is shocking, informative and very important.  – R.S.]

How A Country Serious About Coronavirus Does Testing And Quarantine

MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show, March 12, 2020

Donald McNeil, science and health reporter for the New York Times, talks with Rachel Maddow about how China handles a person who may have contracted the novel coronavirus, with an eye on breaking the chains of transmission and protecting hospitals from being overwhelmed, and with a process that stands in stark contrast with the U.S. for its competence.  Aired on 3/12/2020. 

Coronavirus updates from Solano County, City of Benicia and Benicia Unified School District

By Roger Straw

UPDATE: See today’s latest information


Solano County

As of today [March 15], Solano County has 7 confirmed positive cases of the Coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID 19).   This number is updated daily at 2 pm on the website of the Solano County Department of Public Health.

Of particular interest: Solano County Fact sheet – Guidance for Vulnerable Populations at High Risk

Also: Solano County Press Releases

The City of Benicia

The City of Benicia has also published an online Coronavirus page.  Of interest: a March 11 press release from Fire Chief Josh Chadwick.  Of interest (excerpt):

…City Hall, Benicia Public Library, Benicia Community Center and Benicia Senior Center remain open and operational with appropriate measures in place to protect the health of staff and the community. In an abundance of caution, the following events are City of Benicia programs which will be postponed or canceled until further notice due to the difficulty in maintaining social distancing:

      • Wednesday, March 11: Family Reading Night for students at Robert Semple and Joe Henderson Elementary Schools
      • Wednesday, March 17: Objective Planning Standards Stakeholder meeting
      • Sunday, March 22: Ramana Vieira and Ensemble at the Library
      • Fridays: Board Game Evenings at the Library
      • Next two weeks: All Storytimes and After School Zone, due to limited space at the Library

The Benicia Unified School District

The BUSD sent the following announcement to parents this afternoon:

March 12, 2020

Dear Families,

Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) continues to monitor the COVID-19 with on-going, regular guidance and communication from Solano County Health Department (SCHD) who works directly with the Center of Disease Control (CDC), the State Department of Health (SDH) and the California Department of Education (CDE).  The health and safety of our students and staff continues to be our number one priority. At this time, BUSD has not been notified of any confirmed cases. As schools are deemed an essential service, schools will remain open unless ordered to close by The Solano County Department of Public Health. If the situation changes, BUSD will follow the COVID-19 school protocols established by the SDH in partnership with the agencies listed above regarding any further measures.

The Health Department continues to recommend and we continue to promote the following:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Cough into a tissue or your elbow
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • BUSD staff are taking extra measures to deep clean buildings and classrooms each night

In addition, we are implementing social distancing protocols effective through the end of Spring break April 12, 2020, as outlined in new guidelines from SCHD. Therefore we will be:

  • Postponing all events at our facilities outside of the school day, including outside user groups
  • Postponing or canceling all field trips, fundraisers, music events, performances, enrichment activities, school assemblies, and club meetings
  • Having no classroom volunteers on campuses
  • Having no guest speakers or outside group performances
  • Having only Diablo Athletic Leagues (DAL) sanctioned supporting events and practices
  • Having no spectators, including, parents and guardians at sporting events; only those adults needed to manage the event will be allowed at the event

We are working on plans to provide a continuity of learning should the situation change or school(s) need to be closed in the future. As part of our ongoing partnership, we are asking our parents to look ahead and make contingent plans in case things change and we are forced to close schools. If your child has extenuating health circumstances, please contact your health care provider to get additional recommendations.

Please continue to refer to Solano County Public health and the CDC websites for updated information pertaining to the virus.  We will continue to provide updates as information is made available to us. Thank you for your patience and your partnership.


Dr. Charles Young

Coronavirus news from Travis Air Force Base

UPDATE: See VIDEO: Quarantined Passengers Critical of Travis Air Force Base ‘Camp Corona’ and First person account of troubled quarantine at Travis Air Force Base

Travis upgrades health protocols amid Covid-19 spread off base

The Fairfield Daily Republic, By Glen Faison

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — The base implemented an enhanced health alert Wednesday as a result of the new coronavirus situation in communities outside the base and said there were no confirmed cases on base.

The move by Travis officials to implement what they call Health Protection Condition Bravo follows a public health emergency declaration Feb. 27 at the base. Solano County declared a public health emergency the previous day.

“This is a moderate health alert in response to public health risks in the local community,” Tonya A. Racasner, 60th Air Mobility Wing deputy chief of public affairs, said in a prepared statement. “The decision to elevate the HPCON is independent of quarantine operations currently taking place on Travis (Air Force Base), and directly correlates to the evolving situation in the local area.”

Racasner in the statement Wednesday said the base’s action was also taken in response to “the sustained transmission of coronavirus (Covid-19) in the surrounding community.”

The move comes two weeks after a Vacaville women became the first patient-to-patient or community-spread case of Covid-19 in the country that was not attributable to travel or close exposure to someone with the disease.

She arrived Feb. 15 at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville with flu-like symptoms and was transferred Feb. 19 to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento once her condition worsened. She was tested Feb. 23 for the new coronavirus, which causes Covid-19. Test results came back positive Feb. 26.

Testing protocols at the time from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention limited who and under what conditions people could be tested for the novel coronavirus. Only a limited number of test kits were available in California at the time. The CDC has since loosened its protocols for testing and additional test kits have arrived in the state.

Travis has served as a quarantine site for several waves of U.S. residents who repatriated to the U.S. from China and Japan. Hundreds of passengers – all California residents – from the Grand Princess cruise ship have arrived this week to begin 14 days in quarantine at the Westwind Inn.

The California Office of Emergency Services announced Wednesday that up to 120 California passengers from the cruise ship will be housed at a vacant hotel in San Carlos because they are exhibiting mild symptoms that may be from the new coronavirus but do not require hospitalization. Another 24 passengers were previously sent to Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, also because they were not free of symptoms.

None of those passengers have tested positive for Covid-19, Cal OES reports, but because they are symptomatic they cannot serve their 14-day quarantine at Travis Air Force Base.

A total of 149 passengers from the Grand Princess were transported Monday from the cruise ship to Travis for quarantine, Cal OES reports. Another 613 passengers arrived Tuesday at Travis for quarantine.

Racasner said in the statement Wednesday that base officials were monitoring the situation as it relates to the new coronavirus and are “closely engaged” with Solano County Public Health and CDC officials.

Practical implications of the escalation to HPCON Bravo at the base include direction for those on the base to practice social distancing and refrain from physical contact such as shaking hands, fist bumps and similar activities; and cancellation of all gatherings of 100 or more people through April 30 unless they are mission-essential as directed by a unit commander.

“While this measure may seem drastic, it will help to mitigate potential community spreading on base,” Racasner said in the statement.

Military and civilian personnel and dependents on the base are being asked to continue standard anti-virus activities such as washing hands with liquid soap and water and rubbing them for at least 20 seconds; wiping common-use items with disinfectant; covering their mouth and nose with a tissue or their sleeve (not their hands) when coughing or sneezing; staying home if they are sick; and getting a flu shot to protect themselves and others from flu, which has similar symptoms to Covid-19.

On-base child care facilities remain open, Racasner said in the statement. Officials with the Travis School District will make decisions about school operations independent of the base’s actions.

Anyone who develops flu-like symptoms with fever and cough or shortness of breath and may have had contact with a person who has Covid-19 or had recent travel to countries considered high-risk are asked to contact their health care provider before seeking medical care to prevent possible transmission in the health care setting.

People who are normally seen at David Grant Medical Center are asked to first call the TRICARE nurse advice line at 1-800-874-2273 or the David Grant Medical Center appointment line at 707-423-3000 prior to coming to the hospital.

“This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation,” Racasner said in the statement. “We will continue to partner with local agencies to ensure the safety and welfare of our force and families.”

More information

For safe and healthy communities…