Everett High School. (Sue Misao / Herald file)

Everett High School. (Sue Misao / Herald file)

Everett, Edmonds, most other schools closing due to virus

Marysville, Monroe, Snohomish, Granite Falls and others also announced plans to shut down for weeks.

EVERETT — One by one, schools districts in Snohomish County and elsewhere in the Puget Sound region have announced closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

• Everett Public Schools will close for at least two weeks starting Monday, the district announced hours after Gov. Jay Inslee ordered a regional ban on public gatherings.

• The Edmonds School District, headquartered in Lynnwood, said it will close starting Monday through at least April 10.

• Marysville announced its schools will close Friday through at least April 12.

• The Snohomish, Granite Falls and Monroe school districts said they will close on Friday and stay shuttered for six weeks, through at least April 24.

• The Lakewood School District closed Thursday for six weeks.

• The Sultan School District is set to close Friday through April 10.

• Stanwood Camano School District closed through Friday.

Following discussions with Inslee on Wednesday, many school districts were expected to follow suit.

Some districts in Snohomish County had yet to make final decisions about whether to halt classes, in response to a pandemic of COVID-19 that has infected hundreds statewide.

Soon the dilemma may be taken out of local hands.

A statement from Stanwood Camano School District indicated that word on mandatory closures could come as soon as Thursday.

In an email to staff, Mukilteo School District Superintendent Alison Brynelson said school leaders “are planning for a possible district closure of weeks to months.”

Youth centers on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, meanwhile, will close for at least a week after a Tulalip resident tested positive for the new coronavirus, one of dozens of cases in Snohomish County.

Statewide, 30 people with COVID-19 have died. Three were residents of Snohomish County, and two of those were senior citizens.

Children have shown to be remarkably resilient to the illness, but can carry the disease and infect more at-risk people.

Inslee’s ban restricts any gathering of more than 250 people in Snohomish, King or Pierce counties.

Last week, the Northshore School District announced it would close campuses and move to online teaching.

Seattle Public Schools announced Thursday all schools in the district will close for a minimum of 14 days. The district is the largest in the state, with more than 50,000 students.

Washington State University President Kirk Schulz said all classes, at all campuses, would go online after spring break, on March 23. WSU Everett, meanwhile, made that switch Monday.

Everett’s public schools will shut down at the end of the week. That includes all building activities, instruction, child care, preschool and health services. Athletic events are canceled until at least March 22, but practices will continue. Superintendent Ian Saltzman wrote that school leaders are working on plans to support families during the closure.

“The decision to close the district was extremely difficult,” Saltzman wrote. “We know closing our schools will impact our most vulnerable families and we recognize that working families depend on the consistency and predictability of support and services our schools offer.”

More closures may come, according to the Snohomish Health District: “Schools should be planning for potential closures for extended periods of time and should be determining now how to continue to provide nutritional, medical and other services for children who need it.”

Tulalip Tribal Chairwoman Teri Gobin confirmed one person on the reservation had tested positive for COVID-19, in a video posted on social media Wednesday evening. Updates can be found through the Facebook page for Tulalip News.

In response, the Tulalip Early Learning Academy, Tulalip Boys & Girls Club and the Tulalip Youth Center have closed for cleanings, she said.

“Our elders are the most vulnerable,” Gobin said. “But the important thing is to make sure that our elders are OK — checking with them on a daily basis, assisting them with getting groceries or food or whatever they may need, so they don’t have to be in public, because they are the most at risk.”

Ashlynn Danielson, emergency preparedness manager for the tribes, asks people to contact the Snohomish Health District or the CDC with questions.

“I certainly know I have been getting a flood of phone calls and emails,” she said. “As much as I want to be able to respond to each and every one of you, I really am only one person at this time.”

The Tulalip Tribes, a sovereign nation, plan to emulate the governor’s ban on large public events.

“As a community we will get through this,” Gobin said. “But we need to help one another, to take care of one another and to pray for one another.”

Herald reporters Joseph Thompson and Stephanie Davey contributed.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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