On Tuesday, Van Alstyne City Manager Lane Jones announced a number of actions taken by the city in response to the global coronavirus outbreak.


Among them was the closing of Van Alstyne City Hall to public access effective March 20.


Municipal functions such as City Clerk, Accounts Payable, Planning and Permitting have been relocated to remote locations.


Those looking to make appointments or get in touch with city officials were advised to call 903-482-5426.


Utility payments can still be made at the drop box in front of City Hall, as well as online or by phone.


Jones said these actions were taken to comply with the need for more social distancing. They are considered a first step, with more actions possibly required at a later date.


The city plans to evaluate the situation weekly and make decisions as deemed necessary.


“As the global effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, the City of Van Alstyne is firmly committed to the health and safety of our citizens and employees and serving our community,” he said in the announcement. “We are closely monitoring the changing situation and complying with public health guidance.”


The Van Alstyne Public Library also announced that it would close March 20 until further notice. It plans to offer 24-7 internet access from the parking lot and curbside service for materials checkout.


There will also be a number of ebooks, audiobooks and virtual programs available online. Those looking for more information are asked to call 903-482-5591.


The Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce’s Networking Breakfast, as well as the Van Alstyne Newcomers Welcome Coffee event, have also been canceled until further notice.


Also, the chamber’s Music in the Park program has been canceled for at least the rest of the month.


As for other city facilities, the Van Alstyne Community Center and Senior Center have both been closed until further notice.


Those who order meals from the senior center can still do so by calling 903-482-6341 and make arrangements to pick up prepared meals at the center’s back door.


The lobbies of the Van Alstyne Community Development Corporation and Economic Development Corporation have also been closed to the public. Those looking to meet with representatives of the organization are advised to call the CDC at 903-712-2002 or the EDC at 903-627-6200.


The Van Alstyne public works, police and fire departments will all remain operating as normal.


“We greatly appreciate your understanding during this time and ask for your continued understanding as we make decisions to protect our citizens and employees,” Jones said.


On Wednesday, Van Alstyne ISD announced that the district would remain closed through at least March 27.


The regular March Board of Trustees meeting was also rescheduled in light of the situation.


Also, district officials sent a survey to parents via social media to assess the feasibility of online teaching options should schools remain closed for an extended time.


“You are going to begin to see schools closing multiple weeks at a time,” Superintendent David Brown said. “In order to have as much flexibility as possible, and to have the ability to return students to the classroom, Van Alstyne ISD will only make school closure decisions on a week-to-week basis throughout this catastrophe.”


Howe ISD took a similar approach, previously announcing an initial week-long closing, soliciting feedback from parents, and warning that the closing could go on much longer.