District will be closed for two weeks

📷 The Citizen Chronicle file photo

SOUTHBRIDGE — The wave of school closures has extended to this town as districts throughout the region, state and country take unprecedented steps to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an announcement made at 1 p.m., district officials announced all Southbridge Public Schools will be closed for two weeks, with students currently scheduled to return to classrooms on March 30. The schools were closed per a decision by the local health board, the statement asserted.

“Today the Southbridge Board of Health has determined that the Southbridge Public Schools will be closed for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16,” read the statement.

In an additional statement, Southbridge Public Schools Receiver/Superintendent Jeffrey Villar pledged to provide further updates as necessary.

“For some time now we have been communicating our need to work closely with our local health officials to determine our best response to the Covid-19 virus. Today the Southbridge Board of Health has voted to close Southbridge Public Schools for an initial period of two weeks, to begin Monday, March 16,” Villar said. “At or before the end of the two weeks, we will revisit this decision based on the best known medical information at that time. We will inform you promptly of any decision that is made to close schools beyond the two-week period of time.”

One concern for district officials centered around socioeconomic conditions faced by the town’s student body. As is the case in several neighboring communities, school officials are planning to offer meals to students impacted by the closure.

“School Administration will meet on Monday to plan for the provision of food and possibly other services to the children of Southbridge,” said Villar. “We will also determine plans in regards providing clear direction to all employees in regards to reporting to work.”

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