CORONAVIRUS

5 school districts cancel events over spring break as coronavirus precaution

Cedar Rapids, Linn-Mar, Marion, College Community, Mount Vernon districts call off practices, rehearsals, other school-sponsored events

Students gather Thursday around a bottle of hand sanitizer before leaving choral class at McKinley STEAM Academy in Ceda
Students gather Thursday around a bottle of hand sanitizer before leaving choral class at McKinley STEAM Academy in Cedar Rapids. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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The Cedar Rapids Community School District on Friday canceled all school-sponsored events — including sports practices and club meetings — scheduled over spring break in an effort to avoid the spread of coronavirus among students and staff.

Nearby College Community, Linn-Mar, Marion Independent and Mount Vernon school districts also canceled all events scheduled over spring break to avoid community gatherings and allow for deep cleaning of their buildings.

In the Cedar Rapids district, only day care programs will remain open. On-site day care in the Linn-Mar district will be closed.

Xavier Catholic Schools will continue to hold athletic practices as usual over break, spokesman Nick Ireland said, but they will be optional for students.

Des Moines Public Schools said Thursday it will close its schools until March 30.

In at least seven states — Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico — all K-12 schools are being closed.

School districts in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area are assessing how they would deal with potential closures, but none have been announced.

Many districts, including the Iowa City Community School District, have said they will announce any closures beyond spring break by next Thursday. Iowa City schools has recommended the cancellation of any out-of-state student trips indefinitely.

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In the Solon Community School District, elementary concerts have been postponed and fitness facilities have been closed to the public until April 12. But Superintendent Davis Eidahl said there are not “any plans to cancel any school.”

Eidahl and other superintendents are working with the Iowa Department of Public Health and county public health departments.

“Students, teachers and staff should plan to return to classes on Monday, March 23,” Linn-Mar Superintendent Shannon Bisgard said in a message to families. “However, we encourage families to review their plans now just in case a decision is made to close schools.”

Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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