The Blaine County and Coeur d’Alene school districts announced they are closing schools for the next three weeks to help slow and prevent the spread of coronavirus in their regions.
The Blaine County School District’s announcement came on Saturday, shortly after an announcement of a confirmed case of coronavirus in the area, the second to be confirmed in Idaho.
Schools and facilities will be closed for three weeks from March 16 to April 5, the district said in a news release.
“We are in coordination with (the South Central Public Health District) and decided in an abundance of caution to close schools,” board chairman Keith Roark said the news release. “We realize this will cause hardship for many of our families in regards to child care and daily nutrition. We hope to announce plans for providing nutrition services soon.”
Around 2 p.m. Saturday, the South Central Public Health District announced the state’s second case of COVID-19 (otherwise known as the novel coronavirus). A woman over the age of 50 contracted the virus, the health district said in a news release, and is at home recovering from mild symptoms.
Brianna Bodily, spokeswoman for the health district, said that health investigators are still tracking where the woman contracted the virus.
Check the district website for regular updates in English and Spanish.
Washington state health officials announced three confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Spokane area Saturday, just a short drive across the border from Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and surrounding areas.
Several people related to the Coeur d’Alene district are also waiting on results of coronavirus tests, the district said in a news release. This includes employees, students and household members of employees and students in the district.
Coeur d’Alene schools will be closed from March 16 until April 6. That includes two weeks of instruction and the district’s planned spring break, according to a news release.
“Our region, nation and world are now confronting an unprecedented public health crisis. In close consultation with state and local public health authorities, we have endeavored to keep our schools open and healthy,” the district said in the release. “We now believe it is necessary to enact this temporary closure.”
The district plans to set up sites where families can pick up school meals, starting on March 18. It also plans to provide emergency child-care services for young children of health care professionals, first responders and vulnerable populations.
School PLUS childcare programs will not be available on March 16 or 17, the district said. It plans to clean the schools to be designated as childcare sites, and plans to reopen the facilities on Wednesday, March 18.
For more information on the district’s plans, follow updates here.