The Verona Area School District is creating a steering committee to address the recent worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

In an announcement to families from superintendent Dean Gorrell and assistant superintendent of student services Emmett Durtshi, the district plans to form a steering committee of administrative staff, school nurses and medical professionals to provide information regarding the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

“You can expect regular updates on this matter, even if the updates include minimal new information,” the announcement read.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the United States plan for disruptions to everyday activities such as school and work. The virus has resulted in 100 cases of COVID-19 in 14 states and six fatalities in the state of Washington.

The district does not have a policy guiding how it would continue educational services if a situation were to require its school buildings to close for a prolonged period of time, Gorrell said.

The first cases of COVID-19 were seen in China in late 2019, and the disease has since spread internationally, affecting 90,000 people and killing 3,000. The coronavirus family is also responsible for the common cold and respiratory syndromes such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

COVID-19 is considered to be an epidemic in countries such as China, Korea and Italy, but it has not been declared a worldwide pandemic.

In the district’s announcement, it encouraged families to practice good hygiene and avoid touching faces with unwashed hands as a precaution to COVID-19 and influenza, as well as staying home when sick.

Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at and follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wethal.