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UPDATED: Fairfax County Public Schools to Close Friday

Updated at 8:45 a.m. — FCPS schools will be closed today (Friday). Late last night (Thursday), FCPS reversed its decision to keep schools open on Friday.

More from FCPS:

School offices and central offices will open on time with an unscheduled leave policy in effect for 12-month employees. (Condition 2). The following activities in schools and on school grounds are canceled:

  • extracurricular activities
  • interscholastic contests
  • team practices
  • field trips
  • middle school after-school programs
  • professional learning and training courses
  • adult and community education classes
  • recreation programs and community use by outside groups not affiliated with FCPS

School age child care (SACC) centers are closed.

Monday, March 16, will remain a student holiday/staff development day to allow our classroom teachers to prepare for the possibility of distance learning. 

Earlier: Fairfax County Public Schools plan to be open Friday, but will give students Monday off so staff can prepare for distance learning due to the recent spread of the coronavirus.

At a press conference today (Thursday) with Fairfax County officials, Superintendent Scott Brabrand said that the public schools are staying open because there is no evidence of “community spread” with the virus from health officials.

“FCPS takes very seriously the COVID-19 challenges that are before the community today,” Brabrand said, adding the school system is “working very closely” to monitor the virus with local public health officials.

The school system is under growing pressure to close its schools due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

“We woke up to have a neighboring school division close,” he said, referring to Loudoun County’s announcement that it will close its schools through March 20.

FCPS announced earlier this week that there is a plan with different scenarios for school closures. FCPS will also have free digital learning and citizenship events on Wednesday (March 18) at Kilmer Middle School and South Lakes High School.

“If we were to have a positive response, we would make a decision to close that school or schools were that was to happen,” he said today.

Brabrand added that the schools are undergoing “deep cleans” with a protocol confirmed by medical officials that “kills viruses, including COVID-19.”

As of 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health says that there are 17 cases in the state, with Fairfax County having the most.

Two new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 were announced earlier today in the county, bringing Fairfax County’s known count of coronavirus patients to four.

Also earlier today, Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in Virginia.

“This is a very serious matter,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said at the press conference. “We must accept this is a changing situation hourly.”

McKay said that Fairfax County is “well prepared” and looking to phase-in additional telework and remote work options for county employees.

While county buildings will remain open, McKay urged people to do transactions online if possible.

Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, the director for Fairfax Health, said the risk for the general public in Fairfax County is low.

FCPS announced after the press conference that all extracurricular activities, interscholastic contests, field trips, after-school programs, community use activities conducted by groups not affiliated with FCPS are canceled from March 14-April 12.

“SACC centers will remain open,” FCPS said. “We will share with you updates about today’s decisions by March 31.”

FCPS said it a review is underway for the food service and food handling procedures and that several parent-teacher associations are canceling school-based events “due to anticipated low turnout.”

Image via Fairfax County

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