Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau Wednesday announced the closure of all schools in the district, according to an SPS news release.

Beginning Thursday, March 12, all schools will be closed for at least 14 calendar days.

According to the press release, officials decided to close because a number of factors “have made it impossible for the district to operate normally.” These factors include:

  • The increasing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Seattle and King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

  • An increasing number of schools that need to be deep cleaned each day because of the potential of some sort of COVID-19 contact.

  • The announcement from Gov. Jay Inslee to increase social distancing and to limit large-group gatherings of 250 people or more.

According to the press release, the decision to close for at least 14 calendar days follows guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Juneau and SPS leadership will work with CDC, Public Health – Seattle & King County, Inslee’s office and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to determine a plan for reopening.

“Closing schools is the last thing we ever want to do, but, obviously, this is an unprecedented situation for Seattle Public Schools, the city and the world,” Juneau said in the press release. “The health and well-being of our students and staff is one of our top priorities and that’s a primary reason for the decision, but it’s also because of the potential wide reach COVID-19 can have given the size of our school district.”

Since SPS began taking precautions against coronavirus in late February, the goal has been to keep schools open as long as possible, to continue providing educational services as well as the social services that many students access through schools.

SPS will continue to provide nutritional services for students who access them through their schools. This includes providing meals to those students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals, according to the press release.

Officials are finalizing plans for these services, which will be announced as soon as possible.

Anyone with questions or concerns can access more information on the SPS website, www.seattlepublicschools.com. For more information about coronavirus and precautions people can take, go to the Public Health – Seattle & King County’s website, www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health.aspx.