Louisiana schools to remain closed for remainder of school year

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Gov. John Bel Edwards on Monday disclosed the first case of coronavirus in Louisiana. | Catherine Hunt/LSU Manship School News Service

Gov. John Bel Edwards says he plans to officially close public schools for the remainder of the semester amidst the growing number of coronavirus cases in the state. 

Edwards said at a press conference on Monday in Monroe that he would make the official declaration sometime Tuesday.

“It is my intention that school will not resume in the sense that students will be going to the school building,” Edwards said. “Education will continue, but they won’t be going back to campus. Distance learning and all that, those things will continue. And you will have a lot more coming from the districts as to what that will look like.”

Schools in Louisiana have been closed since mid-March, when the governor shut down public schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As the outbreak became more widespread, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education urged the governor to cancel the rest of the in-person school year. 

Edwards had been indicating before Monday’s announcement that he would likely listen to their request. 

Instead of classrooms, most of Louisiana’s K-12 students have been attending class digitally.

School closures have been tied to the governor’s statewide stay-at-home order, which mandated Louisiana residents to stay at home except for essential shopping or work. 

That order was extended from April 13 to April 30. 

“It’s just not going to work by the time this is over,” Edwards said. “It’s just not going to be feasible to resume the operation of our schools this academic year.”

It is not clear if Edwards will extend the stay at home order into May along with the school closures.