11 States Where Schools Are Closed or Partially Closed Due to COVID

Total confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surpassed 13.3 million, with nearly 267,000 total reported deaths, as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Here we look at the 11 states where schools are currently either fully or partially closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


Under an executive order issued by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, all public and private schools (K-12) ceased in-person teaching from November 23.

"Middle and high schools will remain in remote or virtual instruction until at least Jan. 4, 2021. Elementary schools may reopen for in-person instruction Dec. 7 if their county is not in the red zone and the school follows all Healthy at School guidance," the governor's office noted in a statement.

West Virginia

Under an executive order issued earlier this month by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, all "in-person instruction at the private and public pre-K through 12 schools throughout the state" has been banned from Thanksgiving to December 2, to "mitigate the potential for the transmission of COVID-19 in school classrooms following the Thanksgiving holiday," the order noted.

New York

On October 30, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released guidelines requiring schools within the state's "red and orange micro-cluster zones" to carry out mass testing as well as "vigilant symptom and exposure screening conducted daily" before they can be reopened.

According to the latest guidelines, for schools to reopen in red or orange micro-cluster zones, they must:

  • Remain closed for at least four calendar days after the zone designation is announced (48 hours to ensure lack of infectious contact in the school, and additional time for testing), and may reopen as early as the fifth calendar day.
  • Ensure that no person may attend in-person on the campus without first receiving a negative test result, this applies to faculty/staff as well as students.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that public schools in the city may reopen for in-person teaching on December 7, starting with elementary school students whose parents agree to a weekly COVID-19 testing regimen.


As of November 21, all non-essential work and activities are prohibited between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time in counties that fall within the "Widespread (purple) tier" of the state's updated guidelines.

The state government website advises: "Schools in the Widespread (purple) tier aren't permitted to reopen for in-person instruction, unless they receive a waiver from their local health department for grades TK-6. However, they may provide supervision of children in accordance with the cohorts guidance.

"Schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the Substantial (red) tier for two weeks. Tiers take effect the day after assignment. For example, if a county moves to the Substantial (red) tier on Tuesday, September 8, and stays there for two weeks, schools can open Wednesday, September 23.

"Schools that have reopened for in-person instruction are not required to close if their county moves back to the Widespread (purple) tier," the state government website notes.


On October 30, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced updates to Oregon's school metrics which allowed more students to return to in-person learning.

The governor's office noted there were "close to 130,000 students in districts eligible to return to classrooms with health and safety measures in place," in a statement at the time.

"Our updated metrics are based on the latest COVID-19 studies and data, are aligned with CDC recommendations, and bring Oregon in sync with the standards of other states like California," Brown said in the statement.

"They also help us meet our priority of returning students to in-person instruction. These metrics still place a very high bar for low case counts to open schools, while at the same time providing more flexibility for our younger students," she added.


In-person instruction at high schools and colleges was halted from November 18 and will remain paused through December 8.

Schools were previously closed for in-person classes from late April for the remainder of the school year under an executive order, while schools were issued guidelines for preparing to reopen.

"Under the order, school districts must adopt a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan laying out how they will cope with the disease across the various phases of the Michigan Safe Start Plan.

"There's no one-size-fits-all solution...districts will retain flexibility to tailor their instruction to their particular needs and to the disease conditions present in their regions," the order said.

North Carolina

Public schools in North Carolina are open for both in-person as well as remote learning "with key safety precautions to protect the health of students, teachers, staff and families," according to the office of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

"Effective Oct. 5, 2020, North Carolina public school districts and charter schools can choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5), which includes important safety measures, such as face coverings, social distancing, symptom screening and cleaning but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom.

"Other schools are operating on a modified Plan B, which allows children to attend school in person but requires fewer children in the classroom.

"Under both plans, local school districts can provide a remote-learning option for any child who chooses it. In addition, school districts have the option of Plan C – all remote learning – if that's best for them," the governor's office noted.

New Mexico

Schools in New Mexico for grades K-5 and K-6 are allowed to operate a hybrid schedule of learning, including both remote and in-person instruction. But the schools must be within counties where the rate of COVID-19 spread is low enough and the school's reopening plans must be approved by the New Mexico Public Education Department.


Some schools are offering a mix of in-person and remote learning options, while other schools are limited to remote learning due to the outbreak.

Rhode Island

High schools in Rhode Island were directed to limit in-person classes starting the week after Thanksgiving, while schools serving children from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade resume in-person learning.


On November 17, the office of Delaware Gov. John Carney announced that: "Based on a weekly review of publicly available data, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) continues to recommend that K-12 public schools operate in a hybrid model with a mix of in-person and remote instruction.

"Transmission of COVID-19 has been rare in Delaware schools because students, educators and staff are following the basic health guidelines and doing their part to keep children in classrooms, and exposure is primarily occurring in social settings outside of school," Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), warned in the statement.

NYC school classroom November 2020
A school teacher packing items in a classroom at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 in New York City on November 19. At least 11 schools in the U.S. are either fully closed or partially closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The wider picture

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 62.9 million people since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.

More than 1.4 million people have died worldwide and more than 40.3 million have recovered as of Monday, according to JHU.

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows the spread of COVID-19 cases across the U.S.

U.S. COVID cases