Florida has canceled all tests for the year, Kansas has decided to keep schools closed, Arizona plans to announce the suspension of makeup days and California said parents should be prepared for their state to be next.
School closures are among the restrictions on group gatherings that are continuously increasing in order to curb the spread of coronavirus. Guidance against large groups has only been issued for 15 days, but President Trump has said the pandemic might not subside until July or August. So far, 39 states have decided to close schools, affecting more than 41 million students, according to Education Week.
After consulting with education professionals, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly ordered the closure of all K-12 schools in the state for the rest of the year. The decision came Tuesday, and Kelly along with Commissioner for Kansas State Department of Education Randy Watson tasked school personnel with designing plans for continued learning and meal distribution.
In Florida, all remaining testing for students K-12 have been canceled and there will be no grades calculated for the rest of the year, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday.
For graduating students, all requirements will be evaluated without testing, he said. And parents of students in all other grades will have the choice to keep their child in the same grade for the 2020-2021 school year, DeSantis said.
Arizona state lawmakers plan to announce a plan Wednesday that would account for the possibility that students will be completing lessons at home through the end of May, Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Sylvia Allen told CNN affiliate KNXV. Under the plan, a rule requiring students to be in school a minimum of 180 days would be suspended and schools would be required to develop alternative methods to deliver lessons.
Nearly all districts in California have been closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and public schools in the state with 6.1 million students will likely remain closed for the rest of the year, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
“Don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week, please don’t anticipate in a few weeks,” Newsom said. “I would plan and assume that it’s unlikely that many of these schools, few if any, will open for before the summer break.”
Short term closures likely will make little difference in the spread of coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, and closing schools for eight weeks or more is likely to have a greater impact on mitigation.
But the closures have posed new problems like how to make the transition to online and at-home learning. And officials are working to determine how not to leave behind those who rely on school for food and housing security or do not have the resources to access education online.
CNN’s Pierre Meilhan contributed to this report.