ARLINGTON — The Town of Arlington, after meeting with its leadership team and consulting with a consortium of mayors and municipal managers from around the metropolitan Boston area, has made the decision to close the Arlington Public Schools through at least March 27. The town has also decided to suspend most nonessential town services and cancel board and committee meetings until further notice.
Additionally, the Arlington Public Library, Arlington Recreation Department, Arlington Youth Counseling Center (AYCC) and Arlington Senior Center will be closed and all town meetings will be canceled at least through March 27.
The town is also now advising its residents to practice social distancing and avoid group activities and events.
The decision was made after reviewing the facts and circumstances of the rapidly unfolding novel coronavirus crisis, which has been designated a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.
“We have met as a team every day since this crisis started, and we believe that, at this time, this is the right decision for the overall safety and well-being of all our students, faculty and staff, and nothing is more important than that,” said Superintendent Kathleen Bodie.
The Arlington leadership team met again Thursday after Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiorno met with a group of mayors and municipal managers in Greater Boston to review the latest information about the COVID-19 outbreak.
Arlington’s Town administrative offices will operate with minimal staff in order to maintain core municipal services and reachable by phone. Senior rides and meals will operate.
“We are working with our partners and neighbors, and the Town of Arlington will always make the decisions its leadership team feels are best for its community members,” Town Manager Chapdelaine said. “This is a worldwide crisis, and we have concluded that requires us to make decisions to protect our community members based on specific, local information that we have in and in Arlington.”
The Town of Arlington is coordinating efforts to provide support to the vulnerable populations in town, including school-age children on free and reduced lunches, seniors needing food and medical support as well as transportation to medical appointments.
“Our children and seniors will continue to have meals provided to them, and our seniors will continue to have rides to their vital appointments,” Director Bongiorno said. “This is a difficult decision, and life is going to be different in our community for a little while. But this is temporary, and we will get through this if we all come together.”
Arlington has also activated its Emergency Operations Center, ensuring interoperability and seamless logistics and delivery of vital town services with representatives from multiple town agencies and departments in constant communication. As part of this activation, the town will staff a hotline from 8 a.m. to midnight daily until further notice. That number, for Arlington residents only, is 781-316-3952.
Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.