As a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classes on March 16 have been canceled in Charlottesville and Albemarle County’s public schools.

School-related trips or activities of more than 100 people have also been canceled.

Canceled city schools activities include Parent University, the ArtConnections open house and the District 13 orchestra assessments at Buford Middle School.

Although there will be athletic practices, scrimmages have  been canceled.

In the county, the performance of “The Addams Family” at Western Albemarle High School has already been postponed.

“We are preparing — and we ask you to prepare — for the possibility of extended school closures following health department guidance,” said Rosa Atkins, superintendent of the city schools.

Atkins said there are efforts to develop online or at-home learning plans and to explore ways to provide food and resources “to families who rely on the school meals program.”

In the county, schools officials released a three-phased management plan earlier this week. Its first phase was planning and preparation. Canceling school-related trips was  part of its second phase, which is what the division now is under. The third phase would be launched when a local case is identified.

“Teachers and staff should report for work on their normal schedule,” the county said in a release.  “The day will be used to develop and complete planning for how best to serve the instructional and nutritional needs of students if schools close for an extended period of time.”

Students will have access to the cafeterias. Public meetings hosted at school buildings will be limited to 100 guests.

Other precautionary measures, county schools officials said, include

  • sending people exhibiting a fever home;
  • following the requirements of the Virginia High School League for sport activities;
  • encouraging staff and students to wash their hands regularly;
  • refraining from high-five greetings or handshakes;
  • touching the nose, mouth or eyes; and
  • distributing antimicrobial disinfectants and alcohol-based sanitizers to classrooms.

County schools also are encouraging students and staff who have traveled to areas with confirmed cases and are back in the county to notify school officials, as advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

“These changes reflect the most current circumstances and the latest guidance we have received from the health department,” said Rosalyn Schmitt, Albemarle schools’ chief operating officer.

Links to more information can be found on our main COVID-19 page.


Billy Jean Louis joined Charlottesville Tomorrow as its education reporter in April 2019 and is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jean Louis speaks English, Haitian Creole and French.