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Lexington, Winchester, Arlington schools among several to close for two weeks amid coronavirus outbreak

A soccer ball was abandoned outside the Eliot School playground in Boston's North End, which was closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A soccer ball was abandoned outside the Eliot School playground in Boston's North End, which was closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff

Six Middlesex County school districts will be closed for two weeks starting Friday as cases of the coronavirus continue to climb in Massachusetts, officials announced Thursday.

Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Burlington, Lexington, and Winchester will be closed through at least March 27, according to a joint statement from the districts’ superintendents.

The superintendents did not immediately say if schools would turn to online classes during the two weeks.

“As we await further guidance from State health officials, area superintendents have collaborated to make a timely and unified decision about school closure," the superintendents said in the statement. "We know we can have a greater and more positive impact on public health and safety if we do this together.”

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The superintendents said the decision was made based on advice from local boards of health and epidemiologists who “recognize that the time to act is now,” they said.

The closures come after some families in the area have had members test presumptive positive for the virus, the superintendents said. The two-week closures could extend or shorten in accordance with any new state guidelines, they said.

Other school districts in the area are still figuring out the details of possible school closures, officials said.

“We do this out of an abundance of caution, particularly out of sensitivity to families and staff who have underlying conditions that make them more vulnerable to complications should they become infected," officials said. "We also do not do this lightly, as we know that this will impose a hardship on families who do not have childcare options.”

Earlier Thursday, Wellesley officials also announced that public schools there would be closed for two weeks starting Friday.

“We believe these steps are necessary given the current realities,” officials said in a notice posted online.

Also starting Friday, Everett public schools will be closed for 30 days, through Monday, April 27, officials said.

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“Now is the time to act,” Everett officials said online.

Caroline Enos can be reached at caroline.enos@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.