After a previously-scheduled half-day on Friday, Manassas public schools will be closed to students Monday for preparations in the event of further cancellation, Superintendent Kevin Newman announced Thursday.

Students are still expected to be back in classrooms the following Tuesday, March 17, but all staff, faculty and administrators will be preparing contingencies for continued learning in case of future closure.

“This thing is changing rapidly and we’re staying in constant communication with our local, state and federal health departments on their guidance,” Newman told InsideNoVa.

Monday will start with hour-long faculty meetings about what to expect if schools need close. After that, Newman said, schools will have all hands on deck to sanitize buildings and busses.

“We’re bringing in our cafeteria staff, transportation staff, maintenance, everyone will be in, deep cleaning, disinfecting on Monday,” Newman said. “From busses to cafeteria to classrooms, every piece of the buildings will be touched.”

Newman said he’s heard from concerned parents, and that the division’s leadership is prioritizing health and safety of students and staff, but that as of right now local and state health departments have not instructed the division’s schools to close.

He also said that while leadership has discussed what to do for students who rely on school meals every day, the division doesn’t yet have a plan in place to distribute meals.

“So far we’ve been working on how we can provide some form of instruction for our kids, and I feel really good about our plan if we have to use it,” Newman said. “I’m hoping we will not have to use it … but we’re in uncharted territory right now.”

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