Seven States in the U.S. Have Now Extended School Closures for the Rest of the Year

Seven U.S. states have closed school for the remainder of the year, as the new coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country.

According to a tracker provided by Johns Hopkins University, the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19 has infected over 144,000 people across the U.S. as well as at least 2,575 deaths.+

When the virus began to spread in the U.S., many states temporarily closed schools, but as the virus has continued to spread, a few states have decided to move ahead and closed school for the rest of the year.

Arizona

Arizona was the most recent state to closed school for the remainder of the year when Governor Doug Ducey released a statement announcing the move on March 30.

"In alignment with yesterday's updated federal guidance, today we are announcing the extension of school closures through the remainder of the year," Ducey wrote in a statement posted to Twitter, alluding to the announcement made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extending social distancing guidelines till April 30. "Today's announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions."

According to the tracker, there are over 1,156 confirmed cases in Arizona as well as at least 20 deaths.

Alabama

On March 26, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced that all schools in the state will be closed for the rest of the year. Schools were scheduled to begin regularly on April 6, but classes have now been moved to alternate online instruction.

"Beginning at the start of school on April 6, 2020, all public K-12 schools shall implement a plan to complete the 2019-2020 school year using alternate methods of instruction as established by the State Superintendent of Education," Ivey said in a statement.

Ivey also noted that the state will help those that do not have access to internet, for the online learning. Her announcement does not apply to private schools, where decisions are made individually by private school administrators.

There are currently at least 830 confirmed coronavirus cases in Alabama and 12 deaths, according to the tracker

Coronavirus in U.S.
Coronavirus pandemic has forced seven states to close school for the remainder of the year. Justin Sullivan/Getty

Kansas

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced on Tuesday, March 17 that the state will be closing schools for the remainder of the year for public and private K-12 schools. The classes will be moved to online instruction.

"The reality of this pandemic is that it cannot be controlled statewide if school buildings return to normal operations or if they respond inconsistently within our local communities," Kelly said during a statewide press conference.

According to the tracker, there are at least 330 confirmed cases in Kansas and seven deaths.

New Mexico

On March 27, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that school closures would extend through the rest of the year.

"My administration has made the very difficult decision, in close consultation with education and health leaders, to extend public school closures through the rest of the academic year," Grisham said in a statement.

In New Mexico, there are at least 237 confirmed cases and two deaths.

Oklahoma

On Wednesday, March 25, the Oklahoma State Board of Education voted to close public schools across the state for the remainder of the year. The schools across the state use a "continuous learning plans," which includes an outline for age-appropriate learning.

"I have faith in the commitment, innovation and creativity of Oklahoma educators and administrators," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said in a news release. "Many districts across our state have utilized online instruction already and likely will be able to hit the ground running. Other districts have significant technology limitations, while some might opt for instructional materials delivered to students. There will be a wide range of approaches and it will be far from ideal, but necessary as we embrace these changes and even sacrifice to protect the public health of our communities."

According to the tracker, Oklahoma has over 428 confirmed cases and at least 16 deaths.

Virginia

On March 23, Governor Ralph Northam ordered all K-12 schools to stay closed for the remainder of the year. Throughout the state, different school districts will decide how they want to continue teaching the students.

"I am also ordering all schools in Virginia to remain closed at least through the end of this academic year," Northam wrote on his Twitter. "I know these changes will raise many questions and create new challenges—but I am also confident in our ability to be resilient and navigate these waters together."

In Virginia, there are at over 1,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 15 deaths, according to the tracker.

Vermont

On March 26, Governor Phil Scott directed all schools across the state to remain closed for the rest of the year. School districts across the state will be required to "implement continuity of learning plans for remote learning."

"The education of our students and the bonding and learning experiences they have at school are tremendously important, so I fully appreciate the impact and difficulty of this decision," Scott said in a statement. "I also recognize it will be challenging for some schools to implement remote learning through the end of the year. But I am encouraged by the creativity I've seen from administrators, educators and parents already, which is why I know, together, they can rise to the occasion."

According to the tracker, there are over 250 confirmed cases in Vermont and at least 12 deaths.

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