Schools in Marion County have begun to announce closures after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds called for schools in the state not to hold classes for the next four weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Knoxville School District Superintendent Cassi Pearson said in a letter Sunday that the district will follow the governor’s recommendation and close schools for at least four weeks, beginning Monday.

Melcher-Dallas has thus far announced it will not hold classes this week.

Pleasantville Schools will be out of school the next four weeks. Classes are tentatively slated to resume the week April 13, the district’s superintendent said in a Sunday night statement. But, the start date could be moved closer depending on conditions.

Twin Cedars was already scheduled to not be in class March 16. School superintendent Brian VanderSluis said the district will follow the four week recommendation, effective March 16.

All spring activities of Iowa’s high school unified activities partners (the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa High School Music Association and the Iowa High School Speech Association) will be prohibited through the state’s K-12 school recommended closure of four weeks in response to the community spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iowa.

The recommended closure date currently extends through Friday, April 10 and would mean a return to school on April 13. Prior to April 10, the schedule will be assessed as necessary with information from the Governor, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, and activity partners at the IGHSAU, IHSAA, IHSMA and IHSSA.

The governor’s recommendation came after she announced Sunday there are four new cases in Iowa of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Two are from travel and two are from community spread, she said. The new cases were in Johnson, Allamakee and Polk counties. There are now 23 confirmed cases in Iowa.

“Based on new information today from the Iowa Department of Public Health, now is the time to move to the next level of response,” Gov. Reynolds said. “I am now recommending that all Iowa schools close for a period of four weeks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Also on Sunday, the Center for Disease Control updated its guidance for gatherings of more than 50 people be postponed across the country for the next eight weeks.

Kyle Ocker is the regional editor of the Centerville Daily Iowegian, Knoxville Journal-Express, Pella Chronicle and Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@dailyiowegian.com.

Kyle Ocker is the regional editor of the Centerville Daily Iowegian, Knoxville Journal-Express, Pella Chronicle and Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@dailyiowegian.com.

Kyle Ocker has been the editor of the Knoxville Journal Express since November 2016. He formerly held the titles of sports editor and associate editor at the Centerville Daily Iowegian, a sister paper to the Journal Express.

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