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Governor Northam orders all K-12 schools close for two weeks

RICHMOND, VA – Friday, Governor Ralph Northam ordered all K-12 schools in Virginia to close for two weeks in response to coronavirus.

Schools will close from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27, at a minimum.

Localities will maintain authority over staffing decisions to ensure students maintain continuity of services or learning, while protecting the public health of teachers and staff.

“We are taking this action to keep Virginians as safe and healthy as possible, and to minimize exposure to COVID-19,” Governor Northam said. “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. This is a fluid and fast-changing situation.”

Department of Education officials are working with school divisions and the Department of Social Services to make sure those who qualify for free or reduced lunch programs are able to access them during the closures.

School officials are also working to minimize disruptions to instructional time.

On Thursday, Northam declared a state of emergency, which will provide increased flexibility to ease regulatory requirements and procurement rules, continue federal and multi-state coordination, and ensure continued access to critical services.

The Governor also halted specially-scheduled state events and conferences for 30 days, and banned out-of-state travel for state employees, with allowances for individuals in border communities.

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