Polis orders all public and private schools closed through April 17

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis holds a news conference on the state's response to COVID-19 on May 18, 2020.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis holds a news conference on the state’s response to COVID-19 on March 18, 2020.

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DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order Wednesday prohibiting both public and private schools from providing in-person learning from March 23 to April 17.

“The executive order directs Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute to make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time while taking into account the needs of local communities,” the governor’s office said in a press release.

The order also directs the commissioner of education to help school systems develop plans “to assist families and students in accessing alternative learning, providing free and reduced lunch and breakfast, and offering waivers for instructional time as appropriate.”

“Protecting the health of all Coloradoans is our top priority, and moving to online learning and other ways to support learning at home is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Education Commissioner Katy Anthes in a written statement. “We know school leaders, educators and families will have a lot of questions about how to support their students’ learning at home during this unprecedented time. The department is working on guidance and developing resources to support our schools and students, and it will be available very soon.”

Polis also extended the suspension of downhill ski area operations through April 6.

Additionally, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced a ban on public gatherings of more than 10 people, with several exceptions, including offices and airports.

“We are acting boldly and swiftly together to protect the health and safety of all Coloradans. The science and data tells us this will get worse before it gets better,” Polis said in a statement. “We are in this together and the state is taking the necessary actions to slow the spread of this disease.”

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