25 School Districts and Programs to Close through at Least March 22
The Tri-County Superintendents Roundtable reports that its membership of local superintendents and executive directors have coordinated and collaborated this morning to close all public schools in the region for one to two weeks out of an abundance of caution in an effort to reduce the risk of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the school communities.
The Tri-County Superintendents Roundtable is a professional association comprised of the following school districts and special education collaboratives:
- ACCEPT Collaborative
- Dover Sherborn
- King Philip Regional
- Norfolk County Agricultural School
- South Middlesex Regional Vocational Technical School
- The Education Cooperative
- Tri County Regional Vocational School
State officials have today urged that municipalities should make decisions based on their local circumstances, and given the rapidly changing COVID-19 crisis, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has this week labeled a global pandemic.
Schools in the communities that the Roundtable represents will close from March 16-20, after which a determination will be made if longer closures are necessary. School district leadership will continue to re-evaluate the situation on a day-by-day basis and some school districts in the region have already decided to close for two weeks.
The collective decision was made after careful consideration by district leaders and executive directors after reviewing the facts and circumstances of the fluid and uncertain situation that novel coronavirus presents.
Roundtable members consulted with local boards of health and medical and scientific experts in the communities they represent before coming to their group decision. The group also reviewed the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and believe it is the best course of action moving forward to prevent the further spread of the disease and to keep children and staff members healthy and safe.
Each school district will be responsible for putting measures in place to provide students with educational resources while schools remain closed. Students and families should await further instruction from their teachers, principals and district leaders.
The following is a statement from the Tri-County Superintendents Roundtable:
“We believe the decision to close our schools is the best course of action in preventing the spread of the coronavirus and keeping our students and staff healthy and safe. Closing schools for at least one week will give school districts ample time to thoroughly clean and sanitize school buildings and district offices.”
“We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will consult with each other and with local and state health officials, while following the guidelines of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ultimately, decisions to close schools are not made lightly and each community and school district has to do what they think is best for the people in their communities.”
The members of the Roundtable wish to encourage students and staff to follow recommended preventative steps from the DPH:
- Practice good hand hygiene! Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds including under your fingernails. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) can be used when soap and water are not available.
- Keep your hands away from your face.
- Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue and discard it immediately. Cough into the sleeve over your elbow instead of your hand. Wash your hands often when coughing and sneezing.
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.