WASHINGTON — The National Cathedral has announced that they will be closing three of their D.C. schools early for spring break because of the recent coronavirus outbreaks in the city. They will also cancel all public worship services and close all parish buildings for two weeks effective March 12.
School officials said the early closures of Beauvoir, The National Cathedral Elementary School, National Cathedral Day School, and St. Albans School is "out of an abundance of caution" for the safety of students and staff.
The school buildings will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 12 to allow students and staff to collect their things for the break and the days ahead, school officials said in a letter sent out to their school community.
"While our schools have instituted several precautionary measures and changes to our daily routines to maintain normal operations amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), events around us continue to unfold unpredictably and swiftly," school officials said in the letter.
Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde said that while all normal parish operations within the Episcopal Diocese of Washington will be canceled for two weeks, the cathedral staff would reassess the situation on March 25, and the hope is to reopen for Sunday services on March 29. She noted two exceptions: parish schools are all allowed to make their own closure decisions and ministries serving vulnerable populations -- those experiencing hunger and homelessness -- will continue.
"We will air on the side of compassion, but we want to make sure that our volunteers and all that come to receive those necessary services are safe," Budde said. "Social distance is needed to stop the spread of the virus, and the populations most at risk are highly represented in our congregation and among our clergy."
Budde noted that virtual worship options will be provided, such as Facebook live of services, online worship and Zoom meetings.
"We are not ceasing to be the church, we're doing our ministry in new ways," Budde said.
As of Wednesday, the District has 10 presumptive positive coronavirus cases.
D.C. Health Department officials said one of the cases reported in the District on Monday evening, will be a confirmed case in Maryland.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed the information that D.C. health reported Tuesday at its news conference. So far, D.C. has 10 reported cases, Maryland has nine reported cases and Virginia has nine reported cases.
D.C. health officials said Saturday that two people tested positive for the coronavirus, including D.C. reverend in his late 50s who started displaying symptoms in late February.
Another is a man who traveled from Nigeria to D.C., then was diagnosed in Maryland. He is being counted toward the District's coronavirus count.
The mayor announced that that D.C. Health Department recommends anyone who visited Christ Church Georgetown on either Feb. 24 or between Feb. 28 through March 3 must self-quarantine for 14 days.
One of the additional two cases that was confirmed Monday night was someone who visited Christ Church Georgetown over the last two weeks. Another was a person who possibly contracted the virus at a Biogen conference in Massachusetts.
Check the status of the virus in your state with your state's health department: