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The City of Cambridge announced the cancellation of all “non-essential” city meetings and the closure of all public schools in an attempt to curtail the global coronavirus outbreak Thursday.
In a press release sent out by Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale, the city announced that meetings for all public bodies are now canceled. The notice also said the city’s Special Events Committee would not approve any new permit requests.
“The health and well-being of our City and its residents is our top priority during this rapidly-evolving public health crisis,” Siddiqui said in the release. “An event as unprecedented as this will test us all. I’m confident we will rise to the occasion, as our community has done before in difficult times.”
Hours later, Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent Kenneth N. Salim announced that the city’s schools would be closed until March 27 following dismissal on Friday, March 13. Salim said that he would reassess whether the schools should reopen during the two-week break.
There are no confirmed COVID-19 cases within the Cambridge Public Schools system, according to Salim’s announcement.
Dozens of other schools around Massachusetts have announced their closures amid the outbreak. More than 100 people in the state have tested positive for the virus and more than 1,000 have been quarantined.
Nearly three-quarters of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Massachusetts have been traced to a management meeting held Feb. 26 and 27 by the Kendall Square-based company Biogen.
The city wrote that public city meetings that “transact official City business” will continue to be held as scheduled. The notice said that attendees should not attend if they are feeling ill, coughing, or have a fever.
“I recognize that this rapidly evolving situation is extremely stressful and members of our community are anxious about potential impacts from COVID-19,” DePasquale wrote in the press release. “We are committed to keeping you informed and to responding to the questions and concerns we hear from members of the Cambridge community. The community’s safety and wellbeing is our highest priority.”
—Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.
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