The current coronavirus pandemic has caused numerous businesses, events, and schools to close across the country. As concerns surrounding the coronavirus continue to grow, mayors and governors in the United States have issued updates to their constituents regarding these aforementioned closures. In states such as California and New York, which have seen many reported cases of the coronavirus, it has been announced that schools could be closed up until May and, in some cases, closed for the rest of the school year.
Schools across the country have closed, with many of them turning to online learning, because of previously established guidelines from the CDC. The CDC, which classified the coronavirus as a pandemic on March 11, has cautioned that individuals should avoid gatherings and implement social distancing in an effort to combat the spread of the virus. At the time, the organization's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that "Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO's assessment of the threat posed by this #coronavirus. It doesn't change what WHO is doing, and it doesn't change what countries should do."
Given these guidelines, it's understandable to see why schools have closed in an effort to protect their students and staffs. As the days go on, more states and cities have announced that school closures will continue through the end of April and May.
On March 15, it was announced that all schools in New York City would close effective on March 16. The city initially related that they plan to reopen schools by April 20 but that depends on the status of the coronavirus crisis at the time, according to NBC New York. All schools in New York state were closed as of March 18 with plans to reopen on March 30. Like New York City, it's possible, and increasingly likely, that this closure period will be extended.
In Washington, which saw a major outbreak of the coronavirus in Seattle, schools are closed until April 27. On March 13, Governor Jay Inslee announced that all schools in the state would be closed for six weeks amidst this health crisis.
On Wednesday, Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts announced an update to his previous mandate regarding schools in the state. During a press conference, he announced that schools will be closed until May 4, per the Boston Herald.
"This is not an extended school vacation," Baker said, adding that the state will work with school districts in order to implement at-home educational programs.
In California, Los Angeles has added an extension to its previous school closings. On Monday, CBS Los Angeles reported that schools in the Los Angeles area will now be closed until May 1 after previously announcing that they would remain closed through the end of March.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that schools in Pennsylvania will be closed until April 6 and will possibly be closed for a longer period of time, which Governor Tom Wolf announced on Monday.
"The number of positive cases increases daily, and we're seeing it spread to more counties," the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera, said in the statement. "We must adhere to the social distancing guidelines. Extending the closure will help every community in its efforts to mitigate the spread."
On March 15, Illinois issued a statewide mandate that called for all schools to close through the end of March. However, as MyStateline.com reported, many schools in the state are preparing for the closures to possibly last until the fall.
Like many other states, Oregon has extended the period of time in which schools across the state have had to close. On March 17, Governor Kate Brown announced that schools in Oregon would be closed until April 28, per KGW 8 News.
"I do not take the decision to extend school closures lightly," Brown said at the time. "This will have real impacts on Oregon's students, parents, and educators. But we must act now to flatten the curve and slow the rate of COVID-19 transmission in Oregon, otherwise we face a higher strain on our medical system and greater loss of life to this disease."