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SAN FRANCISCO — A day after announcing San Francisco public schools would stay open as long as possible, officials announced Thursday that all city schools would close for three weeks to try to slow down the progress of the new coronavirus.

San Francisco Unified School District joins districts in Seattle and Elk Grove, California, in shutting down classrooms, a move other public schools will have to consider as the virus spreads and colleges cancel in-person classes. Officials in Maryland, Ohio and Kentucky made similar moves Thursday.

About 120,000 Bay Area Students Affected by Closures

San Francisco’s public schools have about 57,000 students. Elk Grove is the largest school district in Northern California, with 63,000 students.

San Francisco’s school board made the decision after an emergency meeting Thursday, a day after officials said they would not close schools because they provide meals and other social services for families. Superintendent Vincent Matthews said officials would deep-clean schools in the meantime.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco shuttered its Catholic schools in the area after a San Francisco student tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Thursday waiving the deadline for filing taxes and directing residents to cancel large gatherings.

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