Multiple Greater Lowell to schools to close for two weeks

In this March 6, 2020, photo, a classroom is seen vacant through a window at Saint Raphael Academy in Pawtucket, R.I., as the school remains closed following a confirmed case of the coronavirus. As a growing number of schools around the country close their doors because of the new coronavirus, they are confronted with the dilemma of whether to move classes online and run the risk of leaving behind the many students who don’t have internet or computers at home, or parents with flexible work schedule. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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BILLERICA —  Amid coronavirus outbreak concerns 22 school districts in Greater Lowel and the Nashoba Valley will close for at least two weeks.

The Merrimack Valley Superintendents Association announced the decision Friday afternoon.

The districts participating in the closure include Ayer-Shirley Regional School District, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groton-Dunstable Regional School District, Littleton, Nashoba Valley Technical High School, North Middlesex Regional School District, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro, Valley Collaborative, Westford and Wilmington.

“We know we can have a great and more positive impact on public health and safety if we do this together,” the association’s announcement read. “We collectively believe that this decision will assist with the ongoing efforts of our communities to mitigate the spread of this virus.”

The association urged families and students to practice social distancing and refrain from gathering in large groups outside of school. Large gatherings could reduce the impact of the two-week closure, the announcement read.

The association acknowledged that the closure would be “difficult for everyone involved” and thanked families for their patience.

This is a developing story.