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Coronavirus pushes Tampa Bay’s Catholic schools to close

Nearly 50 schools in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties will be closed March 16-20.
Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg announced Friday that 47 Catholic schools in the Tampa Bay area will close next week to prevent the spread of coronavirus. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg announced Friday that 47 Catholic schools in the Tampa Bay area will close next week to prevent the spread of coronavirus. [DIRK SHADD | Times] [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Mar. 13, 2020
Updated Mar. 13, 2020

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ST. PETERSBURG — Fourty-seven Catholic schools and early childhood centers in the Tampa Bay area will be closed next week due to the spread of coronavirus, the Diocese of St. Petersburg announced Friday.

Bishop Gregory Parkes made the call in an “abundance of caution” for the nearly 13,000 students and 1,300 employees at Catholic schools in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.

Monday and Tuesday had already been scheduled days off for students and will remain such. Students will receive instruction online Wednesday through Friday, according to a news release by the diocese.

Related: Diocese closes Bishop Larkin Catholic School in Pasco, cites coronavirus concern

All after-school and sports events at all 47 schools are canceled until schools reopen. Field trips, galas and auctions are canceled until April 17.

While schools are closed next week, maintenance staff will deep-clean campuses, the diocese said. Students and employees who travel during the time off are required to follow whatever Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are in effect at the time of their return.

For more information and a list of parishes that offer live stream and local broadcasts of Mass, visit the diocese website.

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: The latest and all your questions answered.

EVENT CANCELLATIONS: Get the latest updates on events planned in the Tampa Bay area in the coming weeks.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY: Foods that should always be in your kitchen, for emergencies and everyday life.

FACE MASKS: They offer some protection, but studies debate their effectiveness.

WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.

OTHER CORONAVIRUS WEBSITES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Florida Department of Health

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