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Duval, Clay schools announce closures following COVID-19’s arrival

The Florida Times-Union logo The Florida Times-Union 3/13/2020 Christopher Hong
a tall building: Duval County School Board took action to spend more money to improve security at some schools. [WILL DICKEY/FLORIDA TIMES-UNION] © Provided by The Florida Times-Union Duval County School Board took action to spend more money to improve security at some schools. [WILL DICKEY/FLORIDA TIMES-UNION]

Duval County Public Schools extended spring break another week as they work with the Florida Department of Health to determine how to safely re-open schools amid the coronavirus outbreak, and Clay County schools will be closed until March 31.

a close up of a plant: This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (CDC via AP) © Provided by The Florida Times-Union This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (CDC via AP)

Duval County students were scheduled to return from spring break on Monday until Friday's announcement. Now, spring break has been extended through March 22, announced Superintendent Diana Green during a news conference Friday.

a sign on the side of a building: [Getty Images/iStockphoto] © Provided by The Florida Times-Union [Getty Images/iStockphoto]

Greene also announced that any students, faculty or staff returning from any foreign travel or cruises, or anyone who had close contact with anyone who did, should isolate themselves for 14 days after returning.

"We need everyone to be upfront," she said.

COMPLETE COVERAGE | Coronavirus in Florida

Clay County schools will be closed next week, according to an announcement published on the school district's website on Friday. The following week is the school district's spring break. Classes will resume on March 31.

As of late Friday afternoon, there were no announcements made about closures for public schools in Nassau, St. Johns and Baker counties.

When asked whether Duval County's school year would be extended because of the closure, Greene said it would "impact our school schedule" in a way that hasn't yet been determined.

Greene said school officials will speak with the Department of Health over the weekend to ensure students and faculty remain safe. When classes resume, she said staff will focus on cleaning frequently touched areas, like keyboards.

a red car going down the street: [Getty Images/iStockphoto] © Provided by The Florida Times-Union [Getty Images/iStockphoto]

She said all school mass gatherings, including athletic events, are canceled until further notice. Greene said SAT testing scheduled for March 14 will still occur, although anyone with symptoms of illness shouldn't attend.

Greene's announcement followed a decision by Mayor Lenny Curry to cancel all public events and close public spaces. Some local private schools, which are set to begin spring next week, will close its campuses and hold online classes when school resumes.

The Bolles School announced Friday that it has closed its four campuses to everyone except boarding student until at least April 6. Students will take online classes when they return from spring break on March 23.

Students at the Episcopal School will also be on spring break next week. When classes resume, the school will begin a "remote learning protocol."

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Reporter Christopher Hong will tweet from the 4 p.m. press conference with Duval schools.

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