County orders schools closed March 23 through April 14
March 14, 2020 -- This is an update on the rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19/Coronavirus. This evening, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced a state of emergency and directed all local public schools to close at 4 p.m. Friday, March 20, and remain closed until Tuesday, April 14. All non-essential school activities, including athletics, field trips and extracurricular activities, were suspended immediately by the county.
The delayed start to the closure will give families and schools time to make arrangements for continuity of instruction, childcare and a way to provide meals for any students in need while schools are closed.
“We need to give time to deal with childcare issues,” Mr. McMahon said during a March 14 news conference, after meeting with local school superintendents. “And there need to be plans in place to take care of our community’s most vulnerable.”
At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the school district or Onondaga County.
Mr. McMahon also said if any parents choose to keep their children home beginning Monday, those absences will not negatively impact students’ attendance records.
If a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified in the county earlier in the week, the closure will be moved up to Wednesday, March 18.
“As we prepare for continuity of instruction for all of our students, we anticipate using next week to solidify plans to meet their needs,” Marcellus Superintendent Michelle Brantner said. “We recognize that some parents may be uncomfortable sending their children to school. Please know that we respect your right as parents to choose what is best for your child.”
Given that this is a highly fluid public health issue, county officials believe this is the most proactive and prudent action available. This is designed to help limit the spread of illness and to provide time to reassess the situation after the closure period ends.
This situation is very fluid and could change as we continue to work with our local health department, New York State Department of Health and New York State Education Department.