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WJCC schools cancel travel as divisions prepare for coronavirus impacts

Daily Press - 3/12/2020

Editor’s note: The coronavirus outbreak is a serious threat. We are taking every step to make sure our coverage is complete and well thought out, without needlessly causing panic or fear. We strive to keep our coverage in context and focused on helping you.

Williamsburg-James City County Schools said Thursday it is cancelling all travel outside of Hampton Roads.

The division sent out an email to families and staff that all field trips and sports competitions were cancelled, although local trips and games would be allowed. Any staff travel outside the region for professional development is cancelled as well.

No schools in the region have announced plans to close in response to coronavirus, although some have said they are making preparations in case it becomes necessary.

WJCC shared its pandemic response plan as part of its email, which includes steps it would consider taking as a hypothetical pandemic spread through the state.

Level 2 of the plan -- when large clusters are reported and there’s reported illnesses in Virginia but not within the school district -- calls for staff to review plans, make sure schools and buses are cleaned and try to decrease contact between students to reduce the spread of disease.

Level 3 of the plan -- when student or staff illnesses are reported -- calls for staff to consider adjusting school schedules or closing schools, with learning materials shared with students in the days prior to the closure.

Hampton City Schools, Newport News Public Schools and York County School Division have all said they are ramping up disinfecting schools and buses. Hampton has said it is working on potential instructional plans in case it needs to close schools and conducted a phone survey about internet access Tuesday evening.

Matt Jones, 757-247-4729, mjones@dailypress.com

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