BOSTON (CBS) — Boston Public Schools will be closed from March 17 through April 27 due to coronavirus concerns, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Friday night.
Walsh said it was out of an abundance of caution and there is no known public health risk facing the Boston Public Schools as a whole.
“We’re not going to wait for more cases to be confirmed,” Walsh said. “We’ve determined now is the time to take bold action, and slow the spread of this virus. This is to protect our school community and all of our residents.”
Schools will be open on Monday, March 16 to allow parents to plan for the time off, students to gather their belongings and for teachers to distribute learning materials.
We'll continue to provide free breakfast and lunch meals to all @BostonSchools students on weekday mornings beginning Tuesday, March 17.
— BostonPublicSchools (@BostonSchools) March 15, 2020
Read: Map Of School Meal Sites
Walsh said the plan is to reopen schools on April 27, the week after April vacation, but if the situation improves, students will be brought back earlier.
During an announcement Friday morning about the Boston Marathon, Walsh said he anticipated keeping schools open. “After collaborating and discussing with our partners and our public health experts, we agree that this is the best and most responsible course of action,” Walsh said.
The mayor said more information about the school closure will be released on Sunday, including details on picking up meals for the students who rely on the daily free breakfasts and lunches.
Earlier this week, the Eliot K-8 School was closed after a non-student member of the community was diagnosed with a presumptive case of coronavirus.
Boston joins dozens of other school districts in Massachusetts who announced long-term closures.
At this time, Gov. Charlie Baker said health officials are not recommending schools close statewide. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued guidelines Friday for how schools should deal with the virus going forward.
Among the guidelines, the department said that regardless of whether the school has had a student or staff member test positive for the coronavirus, schools must expand cleaning activities.
The Department of Public Health announced 15 new cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts, bringing the state total to 123.