By Randy Arrington
LURAY, March 16 — On Friday, Page County Public Schools issued a press release noting that they were abiding by Governor Ralph Northam’s order to close schools statewide for two weeks to help control the spread of COVID-19.
With spring break planned March 23-27 and a teacher work day already instituted for today, students will only miss four actual school days during the mandatory closure.
Governor Northam’s announcement on Friday came one day after Maryland’s governor took the same step.
In addition to local schools being closed through Friday, March 27:
- All school and extracurricular activities are canceled through March 29 (this includes sports team practices);
- All usage of PCPS facilities by outside groups and agencies is cancelled.
Most school employees worked a half-day today and will remain home until at least Monday, March 30. However, maintenance workers will be busy “deep cleaning and disinfecting” facilities countywide during the closure, according to the schools’ March 13 press release.
In addition, the school system is looking for bus drivers and volunteers to step forward to help with preparing and delivering free meals to students who request them during the closure.
Yesterday, the school system issued a press release stating:
“Page County Public Schools is participating in the unanticipated closure portion of the Summer Food Service Program. Breakfast and lunch meals will be provided to all children without charge … Meals will be delivered, on a first-come, first-served basis to addresses within Page County. Families should provide the address for meal delivery, the number of children to receive meals, and any allergy information through one of the following methods (please only request through one of the following):
Meal delivery is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, March 17. A breakfast and lunch meal will be delivered together Monday through Friday for all children 18 and under who request the meals at least 1one day in advance. Meals will continue throughout the school closure.”
While the actual time missed from school at this point may be minimal (with the inclusion of spring break), many are wondering how long the closure will last. Members of the Page County School Board and school administrators met Monday morning to coordinate plans for the closure period, but they are taking a wait and see approach — as is the entire nation — before making any decisions or announcements about whether schools will actually reopen on March 30.
In an email sent out Sunday from Superintendent Wendy Gonzales, faculty and staff were told “to help make and create the review packets [for students] to be ready for distribution AFTER these next two weeks (starting on March 30th).”
In the message, Dr. Gonzales noted “plans are constantly changing and evolving with regards to school closures…Remember, this is a fluid situation so things could still change.”