Several states are closing schools to protect educators and students from potentially contracting the Chinese coronavirus.
Thursday, officials in Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and the District of Columbia announced that campuses would be closed for the next several weeks to guard against the virus, according to NPR.
Friday afternoon, at least 21,900 schools had been closed or were scheduled to do so, a move that affects nearly 15 million students, according to an update by Education Week.
Thursday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson tweeted that his state had five presumptive positive cases of the virus, in addition to its first confirmed case on Wednesday.
“This is not uncommon. We have seen the spread progress in a similar fashion in other states,” he wrote.
In a subsequent tweet, Hutchinson advised schools in four counties to close in order to protect educators and their students from the virus:
(2/4) The cases affect Pulaski, Saline, Jefferson & Grant counties. In an abundance of caution & after consulting w/@ADHPIO & @ArkansasEd, I'm advising schools in those counties to close for the next two weeks. School closing advisories will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) March 12, 2020
Thursday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced that all K-12 schools would be closed from March 16 until March 31 due to the coronavirus threat.
This is a trying time for our community and I am reluctant to increase the burden on families who are already struggling to adapt to and stay healthy during this crisis. However, we are left with little choice in light of school districts’ staff capacity and operational concerns. I want to thank all of the teachers and school employees who have worked hard to keep our schools open until now.
Following Brown’s announcement, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tweeted that all of her state’s K-12 public schools would be closed for three weeks starting Monday as a “proactive measure”:
This proactive step is in the best interest of our students, our educators, our parents and our communities. We have to be vigilant against this virus. I said we would aggressively address this public health challenge together, and we will.#NMgov #NMed #coronavirus
— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) March 13, 2020
Thursday afternoon, President Trump tweeted infographics that urged families, school staff, and students to practice good hygiene by washing their hands, disinfecting surfaces, and staying home if they felt sick:
KEEPING THE SCHOOL SAFE, ENCOURAGE YOUR FACULTY, STAFF, AND STUDENTS TO…. pic.twitter.com/mfLgNN3b19
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2020