West Virginia. Maryland schools close to stem virus spread

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced on Friday that West Virginia schools will be closed from the end of today, March 13, into the future in order to assist in stemming the spread of the coronavirus which causes COVID-19, a potentially severe respiratory disease. The virus can cause especially severe illness in older people, a fact that Gov. Justice cited in his press conference. He noted that he and state officials did not take the decision lightly, and took into account the impact on families. He said the state will use its ability to provide food to students even with schools closed. There are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease in West Virginia, but Gov. Justice said that will not be the situation in the future.

The closure affects extracurricular activities, including sports, music and academic events.

Morgan County Schools announced earlier on Friday that all extracurricular activities would stop until April 10, and no public events would be held in public school facilities around the county during that time. Morgan County Schools were already closed on March 13 for a planned Professional Learning day.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced on Thursday that Maryland schools would be closed and remain closed as the state tracks the movement of the virus. Additional state agencies have closed offices, suspended public events and cancelled gatherings.

Washington County’s public libraries closed at noon today, March 13, and will remain closed for the rest of the month. Hancock’s local senior center site will also close, and will only provide meals to clients through a “grab and go” option, said Mayor Ralph Salvagno on Thursday.