Schools cancel trips abroad, prepare online lessons and rethink perfect attendance awards as they brace for coronavirus spread

Friday, February 28, 2020
By Paul Martin

U.S. schools are preparing for the possibility of long-term closures if the deadly coronavirus spreads
A school in Washington remained closed Friday after a family member of an employee was placed in quarantine
Emergency plans are being updated including plans to teach classes online
Cleaning staff are being told to pay special attention to door knobs, keyboards and other surfaces that students touch through the day
In Miami, public school leaders have readied 200,000 laptops and tablets for students
There have been widespread school closures in China, Japan, Italy and Bahrain
The first school in the UK was also forced to close on Thursday
Evidence from China suggests children are more resilient to the disease than adults

28 February 2020

Schools across the United States are canceling trips abroad, preparing online lessons and even rethinking ‘perfect attendance’ awards as they brace for the possibility that the coronavirus could begin spreading in their communities.

Districts have been rushing to update emergency plans this week after federal officials warned that the virus, which started in China, is almost certain to begin spreading in the U.S.

Many are preparing for possible school closures that could stretch weeks or longer, even as they work to tamp down panic among students, parents and teachers.

There has only been one known school closure in the U.S. so far.

Bothell High School, near Seattle, canceled classes temporarily on Thursday after a staffer’s family member was placed in quarantine for showing symptoms of possibly contracting the virus.

Officials said the school was being cleaned and disinfected ‘out of an abundance of caution’.

The school remained closed on Friday after a staff member who returned home from international travel reported that their family member was sick. They were both placed in quarantine.

‘After much consideration and information gathering from multiple sources, including our partners at Public Health Seattle & King County, I have decided to keep Bothell High School closed on Friday, Feb. 28. This will provide us an opportunity to complete the cleaning and hopefully receive the results of the test,’ said Superintendent Michelle Reid, Northshore School District.

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