WASHINGTON — Loudoun County Public Schools announced that schools are closed starting Thursday, March 12 through Friday, March 20 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. Officials said they will re-evaluate on March 23 to see if they need to switch to an online curriculum.
LCPS school officials canceled all school activities following the news of the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus a pandemic.
Administrative offices open at noon on Thursday and will run on regular business hours on other days during the school closure.
In a letter sent out to the school community, the decision was made in consideration of the "safety and well-being" of Loudoun County Public Schools' students, staff, and families. The school system plans to work closely with the Loudoun County Health Department and Virginia Health Department to determine whether schools will reopen after March 20, with a decision to be made by Monday, March 23.
Students who need to grab any laptops or supplies left at the school can go to select buildings and pick up gear on March 12 from 12- 3 p.m. and tomorrow March 13, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution, and that whether or not the schools will need to make up days will ultimately be a decision made from Virginia Department of Education.
All school buildings and classrooms will be deep cleaned during the closures, as well as school buses Williams said.
"We will provide you with multiple updates during the closure. Among numerous issues, we are considering different ways of supporting students who rely on our school meals program due to food insecurity. We are also developing guidance to principals and teachers regarding potential distance learning options and expectations in the event that the closure is extended," Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams said.
On March 9, LCPS announced that they will suspend all school-sponsored international travel through June 30 following concerns of coronavirus cases in the DMV region.
The school system also canceled the upcoming Loudoun International Youth Leadership Summit scheduled for March 20. Some schools will be participating virtually, according to the leadership summit's website.
As of Thursday morning, Loudoun County has one positive coronavirus case. VDH said the resident is in their 40s and has had contact with another individual with COVID-19 while attending Christ Church in Georgetown.
Christ Church's priest and organist both tested positive for coronavirus in D.C.. They sought treatment and both remain in stable and isolated conditions.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, the commonwealth has 11 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused several schools -- districts and universities -- in the DMV to change learning environments to virtual, or close schools altogether ahead of spring break. View the full list here.