Some 28 school districts announced today they are closing until March 27 because of the Covid-19 threat and despite Gov. Baker's plea to stay open unless they have confirmed cases in students, parents or staffers - including Everett, which had earlier announced a 30-day shutdown.
The school leaders held a conference call today after a lengthy call with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. During that call, no determination was made by the state on widespread school closure. The superintendents in this region have consulted with health experts and their own municipal public health agents in reaching a decision that, while difficult, is in the interests of the safety and wellbeing of their communities, which is paramount at all times.
The Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) advised districts throughout the state this morning to cancel or reschedule gatherings of 250 people or more and to limit instances where students, faculty, and staff are closer than 6 feet away from each other. While DESE is not explicitly advising districts close at this time, due to the concerns regarding the spread of this virus among crowds, area superintendents feel it is prudent to close their facilities temporarily. District leaders additionally encourage students and staff to avoid being in large crowds of people in order to further prevent the spread of the virus.
The districts: Amesbury, Beverly, Chelsea, Danvers, Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School, Everett, Georgetown, Gloucester, Hamilton-Wenham, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynnfield, Manchester Essex, Marblehead, Masconomet(Middle/High Schools of Boxford, Middleton, Topsfield), Methuen, Nahant, Newburyport, Pentucket(Groveland, West Newbury, Merrimac), Rockport, Saugus, Swampscott, Triton(Newbury, Rowley, Salisbury), Tri-Town School Union (wlementary schools of Boxford, Middleton, and Topsfield), Wakefield, Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, Winthrop Public Schools