‘Right Now There’s No New Update On The School Closures’

‘Right Now There’s No New Update On The School Closures’
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NEWARK –  Local education officials said there was nothing new to report Tuesday as far as the two-week school closure currently underway.

Steve Price, chief safety officer for Worcester County Public Schools, said Tuesday that while there were conference calls scheduled later this week, there was not yet any new information as far as school operations. As of now, the statewide school closure announced by Gov. Larry Hogan to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is set to run through March 27.

“Right now there’s no new update on the school closures,” Price said.

He said that Superintendent Lou Taylor was in constant communication with superintendents across the state as well as State Superintendent Karen Salmon. He said the school system was also working closely with the Worcester County Health Department through the evolving situation.

“It’s changing almost hourly,” he said. “This is uncharted water for all of us. The key is to communicate and do the best we can.”

Carrie Sterrs, the school system’s coordinator of public relations and special programs, said she was receiving questions on how the two-week closure would impact the school calendar.

“At this point we can’t give any detail,” she said. “The situation’s changing day to day and hour to hour. We’re just asking the community and the school system family to be patient with us. As soon as we’re able to make a decision we’ll communicate that.”

Following last week’s announcement of the mandated school closure, students were provided with educational activities that can be completed at home to support learning. A school closing meal plan is also in place — with the support of many local organizations — to provide bagged lunches to children in need throughout Worcester County.

The SAT Day scheduled for March 25 will be rescheduled at the discretion of The College Board. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten registration has been moved to mid-April. The Worcester County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Gala scheduled for March 27 has been canceled.

At a press conference on Monday, Salmon admitted it was likely schools would be closed longer than the March 27 date.

“We are actively looking at the modeling that shows where this virus is going and so we will be making some decisions about that,” Salmon said at a press conference Monday. “The reason I closed schools for two weeks is to assess the situation.”

Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost told The Baltimore Sun Monday, “Closing schools for the rest of the year should be on the table. The most important thing right now is to follow the guidance of public health officials to limit and ultimately stop the spread of this virus.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.