ANDERSON — As of 6 p.m. Friday, all Madison County schools, including public and private schools, will be closed at least until Monday, April 6, after consultation with the Madison County Health Department and the Madison County Task Force on the COVID-19 virus.

Though there were no known cases of novel coronavirus in Madison County, the superintendents of all the county schools met Friday morning and drafted a common letter sent to all parents.

“This decision was not made lightly, and we recognize the hardship this may cause some families, students, and staff,” the letter said. “Additional communication will follow regarding food services for days when school has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus.”

The measure, which includes suspension of athletics and extracurricular activities, follows other counties, including Marion County, which announced Thursday that all schools there will be closed for three weeks.

Most districts expect to use eLearning days.

Because they are on different calendars, the three-week period also includes a week or two of spring break for most of the districts.

Stephenie Grimes, administrator for the Madison County Health Department, which is heading up the local coronavirus task force, said the decision to close the schools was made Friday following the directive of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Holcomb on Thursday said effective immediately school districts would be given a 20-day waiver from the legally required 180 days of attendance. He also advised the school systems to follow guidelines for non-essential gatherings and prepare for broader closures through e-learning and other virtual learning options.

“Everything is changing so rapidly,” Grimes said. “I wanted the school systems to do it collectively as a county and not by individual school districts.”

Shenandoah School Corporation in Henry County and Daleville Community Schools in Delaware County have also closed for three weeks, which includes spring break. 

This story will be updated.

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.

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