Lakota Schools to Close Friday in a Test Run for Possible COVID-19 Response

The district will use the day to test distance learning procedures and deep clean its facilities.

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Lakota West High School - Lakota Local School District
Lakota Local School District
Lakota West High School

A local school district is closing this Friday to test its remote learning procedures in case a longer-term shutdown is necessary due to coronavirus COVID-19. 

In a message sent to parents, Lakota Local Schools Superintendent Matthew Miller said that students are to do classwork remotely on March 13.

“The purpose of this exercise is simply to practice remote learning in response to a potential long-term closure and then gather feedback from you and our staff to ultimately adjust our systems to accommodate meaningful learning without physically being at school,” the message read.

While students are away, the school will be deep cleaned. Staff will still report to work as usual. 

Coronaviruses are a broad category of virus that cause the common cold, among other illnesses. COVID-19 is what scientists call the new "novel" form of the virus — one that hasn't been encountered before and one which epidemiologists do not yet know how to combat. 

While the initial mortality rate for the virus had been reported as 3.4 percent, there are factors that likely make the actual rate much lower. A number of very mild cases of the virus have likely gone unreported, experts say.

The latest estimates put the mortality rate for people under 40 at .2 percent. But older individuals — those above the age of 70 — face a mortality rate as high as 8 percent, according to some sources.

Health officials have advised people to wash their hands frequently and avoid touching their faces. Those over the age of 70 or those with compromised immune systems or other chronic health problems have been advised to avoid large gatherings if possible.  

A number of institutions have cancelled events or regularly-scheduled operations. The Ohio State University, for example, announced March 9 it would suspend on-campus classes until at least March 30. 

Lakota Superintendent Miller acknowledged the district's move was "unusual," but called it a necessary step given the current environment. 

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