In a letter from Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder on the Orange County Schools website, the district announced Friday that it would close its doors starting March 16 to April 3. It is the first public school district in North Carolina to close as a result of the potential widespread outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We have been listening to our staff, our families and our community, and we want to minimize the opportunities for the transmission of the coronavirus by closing Orange County Schools. We know this decision greatly impacts our entire community. We are making every effort to ensure students continue to have learning opportunities and other key services. We continue to closely monitor this situation in partnership with the Orange County Health Department. You can learn more at www.orangecountyfirst.com/coronavirus."
In the letter, Dr. Felder said the decision was considered “the best method for mitigating the pandemic is to minimize the opportunities for transmission.” The school’s plan is to re-open to students and staff on Monday, April 6, however the date could change based on the situation with the coronavirus closer to that date.
Several of the days — March 16-18 — will be teacher work days. Students will not report, but staff will be working “to prepare for a potential prolonged period of extended learning.”
Orange County Schools Spring Break will remain in place as scheduled, March 30 - April 3.
The statement outlines a plan for all grade levels for school work to be done at home, including equipping students in grades 4 - 12 with laptops and chargers.
The letter also addresses children and families who rely on school meals.
“Orange County Schools will provide students and families with information about food resources within the community. Any additional information regarding food and resources will be posted and shared with our families via the website (www.orangecountyfirst.com/coronavirus) and social media when it becomes available.”
The full text of the letter can be found at: http://www.orangecountyfirst.com/content/orange-county-schools-closed-starting-monday-march-16