Classes at schools in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire towns were canceled Monday as a precautionary measure amid concerns over the novel coronavirus.
And the closures have forced some parents and school districts to consider what they would do if their schools closed for an extended period of time.
“Oh my God, I wouldn’t even want to think about it,” said parent Elizabeth Medina in Worcester.
In Massachusetts on Monday, Anne Ware Jackson Elementary School and Beatrice H. Wood Elementary School in Plainville were closed after a parent of a student had a presumptive positive test result, according to the superintendent.
In Arlington, Stratton Elementary School was closed after a parent was found to be a presumptive positive case of COVID-19. The woman, who is in her 40s and attended the Biogen employee conference in Boston, developed symptoms and tested positive for the virus. One of her children, who attends Stratton Elementary School, showed symptoms and was later found to have COVID-19 as well.
In Weston, schools were open Monday, but they did not holding two music concerts and all field trips for the week have been canceled after a parent of a middle school student tested positive for the virus. Officials said all schools were thoroughly cleaned over the weekend, and the middle school was disinfected and sanitized using Victory Electrostatic Sprayers.
Schools opened two hours late at Stow's Center School after a staff member was suspected to have COVID-19, which a test confirmed Monday afternoon.
In Worcester, St. Mary's Schools closed after a staff member was exposed to someone who is expected to test positive for the coronavirus. The exposure happened seven days ago at an out-of-state conference. St. Mary's has students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
A long-term closure would be a challenge for Worcester Public Schools, many of whose 25,000 students have access to internet, Superintendent Maureen Binienda said.
“We in the city of Worcester would not be able to do tele-education,” she said.
Binienda sat down with the NBC10 Boston Investigators last week and discussed how the district is trying to develop plans for homework packets for younger students and lesson plans based on textbooks and reading assignments for the older grades.
Some of those plans were expected to be finalized Monday.
In Newmarket, New Hampshire, schools were closed Monday after a staff member was asked by the CDC to self-quarantine because she had traveled on a bus with someone who has since been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. While that staff member, who is not a teacher, was not experiencing any symptoms, Superintendent Susan Givens said it was important to take this precaution "for the health and peace of mind for all members of the learning community."
Williston, Vermont, schools were closed Monday after a staff member stayed at an out-of-state hotel at the end of February break, according to the Burlington Free Press. Allen Brook School — an elementary school — and Williston Central School — a middle school — were closed.
They will stay closed Tuesday, the Champlain Valley School District announced Monday. The custodial staff will spend Tuesday doing a deep-clean.
“At least it’s a nice day out, so we can play outside,” said mom Megan Porter, who was playing with her kids Monday during normal school hours following the cancellation of classes.
The closings come amid a spate of reported cases of coronavirus in New England.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Monday there are now 41 presumed or confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, many of them tied to a meeting for employees of the biotech company Biogen at the Long Wharf Marriott in the Seaport in late February.
New Hampshire health officials announced over the weekend two new presumptive positive cases of the novel coronavirus in adult men from Rockingham and Grafton counties, bringing the state total to four.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday night that one patient is an adult male from Grafton County who had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Hope Bible Fellowship at 114 Seminary Hill in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, at the morning service on March 1.
The second patient presumed to have the virus is an adult male from Rockingham County who officials say traveled to Italy and then began exhibiting symptoms consistent with the virus.