LOUDOUN COUNTY

Loudoun County Announces Extended School Closure Amid Pandemic, First in DC Area

Students are expected to return on Monday, March 23

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Loudoun County Public Schools will close for a week out of an "abundance of caution" after a case of the novel coronavirus was diagnosed in the county.

The closure will last from Thursday, March 12 through Friday, March 20, school officials announced early Thursday.

All activities are also canceled.

"Loudoun County has not experienced the extent of presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 as some other areas within our nation or globally and has not had cases that meet the definition of community transmission, we are making this decision out of an abundance of caution. We plan to announce next steps by the end of next week," a letter from Superintendent Eric Williams said.

On Wednesday evening, Loudoun County schools said they would close for just one day to allow teachers time to prepare for possible future online coursework. But administrators changed course early Thursday morning, throwing off some parents.

Williams apologized for the late notice on Thursday morning. He said school officials will use the time to develop actionable guidelines to keep students safe if or when they return to class.

One Loudoun County resident in their 40s tested positive for the novel coronavirus after attending Christ Church in Georgetown, officials earlier said.

The district is unaware of anyone considered a presumptive positive who has a connection to schools, but buildings will be thoroughly cleaned before reopening, officials said.

School officials said they would later provide updates about how to help students who rely on school meals and about the possibility of online learning if the closure is extended.

Administration officers will open at noon Thursday and open for regular office hours during the rest of the closure. Williams said the school would give continued updates during the closure.

"We are also developing guidance to principals and teachers regarding potential distance learning options and expectations in the event that the closure is extended," the school said.

The school's spring break is scheduled for April. Officials haven't announced any calendar changes at this point.

This is the first district-wide school closure of this length in the D.C. area. D.C. and Fairfax County public schools are set to close Monday so teachers can prepare for the possibility of online or distance learning. Here's more on what's been delayed, canceled or postponed because of the outbreak.

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