TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The campuses of all public and private K-12 schools in Florida will be closed through April 15 and students will take part in remote learning instead, state officials announced on Tuesday.
According to new guidelines released by the Florida Department of Education, the closures will affect all public and private K-12 schools, along with career and technical center campuses.
"Schools are encouraged to operate virtually or through other non-classroom-based means to the greatest extent possible to implement distance learning," the department said in a news release.
In addition, state officials said school districts should be prepared to extend their educational calendars through June 30.
In a statement, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said:
"The containment of COVID-19 is essential, and this is not a decision we made lightly. Districts have taken action and have instituted distance learning as a necessary precaution to protect students, educators, families, and Florida’s overall public health. We are working with our local school districts to provide guidance and help children who need access food during this time. Our number one priority is keeping our families safe and healthy and stopping the spread of this virus. These actions will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Florida. I will continue to work with the Governor, Superintendents, Florida College System and the State University System to do whatever we can to protect our children, our families, and our communities."
As part of the newly released guidelines, all remaining assessments for school readiness, along with VPK and K-12 assessments, are canceled for the 2019-2020 school year.
K-12 school grades will not be calculated for 2019-2020 school year.
The Department of Education is urging school districts and communities to cancel any "mass gatherings, community events, and extracurricular activities including sports of more than 10 people in a single occupied space at any educational program, school readiness, voluntary prekindergarten, public and private K-12, career and technical centers, public and private colleges and universities."
Earlier on Tuesday, Florida's State University System announced that all state colleges and universities will do online classes only through the end of the Spring semester.