Panhandle Schools Cancel Classes For The Next 2 Weeks Posted by John Axtell Date: March 15, 2020 3 Views Public school across the Panhandle are closed for the next two weeks because of COVID-19, the coronavirus disease. There will be no practices or school activities during the 14 day period. The state elevated the COVID-19 risk assessment Sunday evening and all the schools in ESU-13, which covers all 13 Panhandle counties, are voluntarily shutting down to try to slow the spread of the disease. Chadron Superintendent Dr Caroline Winchester says the decision was made after consultation with Panhandle Public Health District and COVID-19 Unified Command, even though there are still no confirmed cases in the Panhandle. Winchester says all the schools are asking students and community members to immediately begin engaging in social distancing. Unified Command and Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff have asked that anyone who has traveled to areas with community transmission or community spread of COVID-19 to self-monitor and self-quarantine. Community spread refers to cases that can’t be tied directly to an individual who’d been in an area with COVID-19 cases. Nebraska reports its first such case in Omaha on Friday.