Update #2: Superintendents Michelle McCord, Kathy Rollo and Keith Bryant issued a joint statement late Tuesday afternoon to announce their their respective school districts would all extend the Spring Break period for students until March 30th.

The trio went one step further, however, informing parents that if they chose to keep their children at home after March 30th due to the coronavirus pandemic, there would be no penalty. Remote learning will be required for parents who decided to keep their children at home.

From the joint press release:

We are sensitive to the concerns in our community about sending children to school during this outbreak, so beginning March 30, our districts are making attendance optional while this public health emergency is in place. Therefore, families will not be penalized if they choose to
keep their children at home. However, we will require parents and guardians to inform the district of their decision and commit to remote learning provided by each district.

We know closing schools can adversely affect many families who struggle with childcare and rely on the schools for food services. We feel making attendance optional with no penalties for absences gives families the options they need to make a decision based on what is best for their situation and alleviate their concerns.

Update #1: In an email sent to Lubbock ISD parents, Dr. Kathy Rollo said Lubbock ISD would be extending Spring Break for students by one week. Students will remain out of school from March 23rd through March 27th, and return on Monday, March 30th. Staff, however, will report for normal duty during the extended spring break period.

Below is Dr. Rollo's full statement on the decision:

Dear Lubbock ISD families,

As you deal with the unprecedented circumstances involving COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, the Lubbock ISD administration and staff are committed to providing academic services that are flexible in a healthy environment.

With counsel from the Board of Trustees, I have decided to extend spring break for students from March 23 through March 27. Classes will reconvene on Monday, March 30. We are taking this action in order to activate and train educators in our remote learning curriculum protocols, and as a result, staff is expected to report for normal duty on Monday, March 23.

We are sensitive to the concerns you have about sending your child to school during this outbreak, so beginning March 30, we are making attendance optional while this public health emergency is in place. You will not be penalized if you keep your child at home. We will require that you inform us of your decision and commit to remote learning, which we will provide.

The decision whether to close our schools after the extended spring break is still under consideration. At this time, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lubbock County. We know closing schools can adversely affect many families who struggle with childcare and rely on the schools for food services. We feel making attendance optional with no penalties for absences gives you the options you need to make a decision based on what is best for your situation and alleviate your concerns.

For those who decide to send their students to class, Lubbock ISD will institute social distancing practices. We will stagger cafeteria periods and class seating assignments to maintain a safe distance between students. Hand sanitizing stations will be prominently placed and frequent hand washing will be mandatory.

It is critical that students who exhibit symptoms of illness do not come to school. If your child is sick or a member of your household is sick, please do not send your child to school. School nurses will continue to actively monitor all student and staff health, and the student health policies are still in effect. If your child begins to exhibit symptoms of illness while at school, your child will be sent home.

Lubbock ISD administration advises families and staff to adhere to CDC guidelines regarding domestic and international travel. It is imperative that you notify us of travel taken outside of the region between March 13 and 29 via an electronic form that can be found at www.LubbockISD.org/healthupdates. Lubbock ISD will work with families and staff on a case-by-case basis.

We realize you have many questions. We will continue to finalize the details of remote learning and other school services that we regularly provide during this extended spring break period and will provide extensive details on Wednesday, March 25.

We want to reassure you we are researching, consulting with health care professionals, collaborating with community partners, and listening to your concerns. As always, thank you for your support of Lubbock ISD and our mission to nurture, develop, and inspire every child, every day.

Original post: Dr. Kathy Rollo, Superintendent of Lubbock ISD, recommended that the district extend spring break for one week.

The recommendation was made at a meeting on Tuesday, March 17th, where the district was expected to vote on giving Rollo emergency powers.

KAMC News reports that staff would still report back on Monday, March 23rd if the proposal were to be passed.

Lubbock ISD sent 2nd through 12th grade students home with Chromebooks before Spring Break in the event such a move was warranted.

Monday afternoon, Mayor Dan Pope held an emergency city council meeting to declare a public health disaster and push to limit public gatherings to under 200 people.

Read more coronavirus news

In Lubbock, several businesses have had their normal routines upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and other dine-in style eateries have moved to a drive-thru only model, closing their inside areas for customers. Alamo Drafthouse, one of three major movie theater groups operating in Lubbock, announced all of its locations, save one, would be indefinitely closed. Cinemark also confirmed it would be closing all its locations to help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.