WASHINGTON — Gov. Larry Hogan announced all Maryland public schools to close for two weeks, starting March 16 through March 27 amid growing coronavirus concerns.
After the schools reopen, Maryland will use spring break to make up for the missed days. Spring break was scheduled to take place April 6-13, but instead, students will be expected to be in school to make up for some of the lost days.
The state of Maryland said they are still working on childcare services.
"My advice is that private schools should follow the lead of the public schools," Hogan advised during a Thursday press conference.
Gov. Hogan also issued a state of emergency for Maryland during a press conference on Thursday, activating the National Guard and signing an executive order closing the port of Baltimore from cruise ships.
Visits to prisons are suspended in the state and gatherings and events over 250 people are prohibited. All senior centers will be closed.
Maryland state employees are also required to telework due to coronavirus and access to state buildings, including the State House, will be restricted.
Gas stations and grocery stores are expected to stay open.
"This is a public health emergency," Deputy Health Secretary Fran Phillips said.
"My advice is that private schools should follow the lead of the public schools."
Hogan said Thursday's precautions are strategic moves to help limit virus spread.
“We should expect the number of cases to dramatically rise,” Hogan said.
All hospitals across the state must have restrictive visitor policies — no visitors under 18, screening for illness before visiting and one adult visitor per patient.
Hogan also deferred all state duties to Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford.