Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all K-12 schools in Virginia to close for a minimum of two weeks in response to the continued spread of novel coronavirus.
Schools will close from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27, at a minimum.
According to Northam's office, localities will maintain authority over specific staffing decisions to ensure students maintain continuity of services or learning, while protecting the public health of teachers and staff.
“We are taking this action to keep Virginians as safe and healthy as possible, and to minimize exposure to COVID-19,” said a statement from Northam's office. “I recognize this will pose a hardship on many families, but closing our schools for two weeks will not only give our staff time to clean and disinfect school facilities, it will help slow the spread of this virus. This is a fluid and fast-changing situation. We will do everything possible to ensure that students who rely on school nutrition programs continue to have access to meals, and that the disruption to academics is as minimal as possible."
The Virginia Department of Education is working with school divisions and the Department of Social Services to ensure students who qualify for free or reduced lunch programs are able to access those programs while schools are closed.
This is a developing story.