RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) – Governor Ralph Northam is ordering all kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade schools in Virginia to close for a minimum of two weeks in response to the continued spread of COVID-19.
“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,” the governor said in a press release issued on Friday, March 13.
Multiple school divisions, including Charlottesville and Albemarle County, had already canceled classes for Monday, March 16.
Schools are currently looking into options to get students on free and reduced lunches meals during that time.
“We recognize this decision places burdens on many of our parents and families, especially for those who rely on school nutrition programs for access to healthy food for their children,” Secretary of Education Atif Qarni said in Friday’s press release. “Virginia will continue to explore and implement innovative approaches to provide meals to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch during this closure.”
The Virginia Department of Health announced Friday that there are currently 30 cases of coronavirus in the commonwealth, though none have been reported in the Charlottesville area. A Harrisonburg man has tested positive, and was reportedly in isolation.
Northam declared a state of emergency on Thursday, March 12. Charlottesville and Albemarle County both issued declarations of local emergency, as well.