Burlington School District considering “preemptive closure” to combat COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus
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Burlington School District officials are telling parents to prepare for the “possibility” that the spread of coronavirus in Vermont could close the city’s schools.

In the latest update to the school community, Superinendent Yaw Obeng said that while no students, teachers or staff are known to have come in contact with the virus, the district has discussed so-called “preemptive closure” to decrease the spread of infection.

“I have not said much about closing previously as I did not want to raise alarm,”Obeng said. “However, I want to assure you that our District has been planning for the last week and a half for the possibility of closure.”

He said the district has been developing virtual learning plans and other resources, as well as strategies to feed children in the event schools are closed. Obeng said the decision will be guided by recommendations from state health and education officials.

He urged parents to think ahead. “Parents, please start preparing your families for the possibility of school closures, including the care of children if you need to continue to work outside of the home.”

Gov. Phil Scott and members of this adminstration are scheduled to brief reporters in Montpelier Friday afternoon to give an update on the state’s response to the coronavirus.

Two people in the state have been confirmed to have COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus; one, a 70-year-old man from Chittenden County, is in intensive care at UVM Medical Center. The hospital says two others with symptoms are being treated, but offered no details on their status. Another 212 people are currently being monitored by the Department of Health.

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