The overwhelming majority of states have issued orders prohibiting in-person classes at public and private schools for the remainder of the academic year to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
States first began taking precautionary measures in March, with most governors intending to lift the restrictions in a few weeks, but many have since encouraged remote learning.
Below are the 40 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have issued orders for classrooms to remain closed through the end of the academic year. This list will be updated if more states take similar actions.
Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on March 26 said all schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Ivey had initially planned to reopen them on April 6.
“This decision has been made with a tremendous amount of concern & discussion,” Ivey tweeted.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) issued a health mandate on April 9, extending the closure of all K-12 public and private schools for the rest of the school year.
“Despite the need to extend school building closures, student learning will continue, per each school district’s individual plan, to provide distance-delivered educational services to students,” Dunleavy said in a statement.
Gov. Doug Ducey (R) released a joint statement on March 30 with the superintendent of public instruction announcing schools will stay closed for the rest of the year.
“While this isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students,” they said. “These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced at a press conference on April 6 that all public schools would remain closed for the rest of the academic school year.
“The continued spread of COVID-19 throughout the nation does not give me confidence that our educators, parents, and, most importantly, our students would be safe if schools were to resume on-site instruction in April,” Hutchinson said. “Although on-site instruction has been discontinued until the 2020-2021 school year, it is critical that our students continue to learn at home.”
Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomFeehery: The confidence game Biden administration launches new national initiative to fight homelessness Equity is key to resilience — three ways make it a priority MORE (D) said on April 1 that schools would not be reopening before the end of the academic year.
“Schools are closed, but classes are in,” Newsom said as he encouraged students and parents to continue education efforts at home.
Gov. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisMajority of unvaccinated in Colorado have no plans to get inoculated: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes history marrying long-time partner Marlon Reis MORE (D) announced at a press conference on April 20 that all school districts will remain closed through the end of the academic year.
“This is a marathon -- not a sprint, which was the easy part -- now we need to pace ourselves and these distancing measures need to be sustainable,” Polis said. “We’re going to have to learn to live with coronavirus for a while, but we must live not with anxiety or fear, but with extreme caution, especially if you are a member of a vulnerable population.”
Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced on May 5 that schools will remain closed and continue online learning for the rest of the academic year.
“I know how important it is for so many students and teachers to finish out the school year, and I was holding out hope - particularly for high school seniors - that we’d at least be able to complete the final few weeks, but given the current circumstances and to protect everyone’s safety, it has become clear that it’s just not possible,” Lamont said.
Gov. John CarneyJohn Charles CarneyDelaware set to raise minimum wage to by 2025 26 governors condemn anti-Asian violence Fracking banned in Delaware River Basin MORE (D) said on April 24 that schools will stay closed for the rest of the school year and switch to online instruction.
“We made the difficult decision today – in consultation with superintendents across our state – to close schools through the rest of the academic year. I know this will be difficult for a lot of Delawareans and Delaware students. Nothing replaces in-person instruction, and the services that are delivered in our schools every day, but the health and safety of Delawareans is our first priority,” Carney said.
District of Columbia
Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced on April 17 that schools in the nation's capital would remain closed through the rest of the academic year.
"Learning at home will continue for the rest of the school year. We will close our school year early, and we'll be able to say more about summer and the start of the next school year by May 15th," Bowser tweeted.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) gave the state a COVID-19 update on April 1 and said he is signing an executive order that extends school closures for the rest of the academic school year.
"We are in this together. You are not alone. Thank you, and God bless," Kemp said.
The Hawaii State Board of Education announced on April 17 that schools will remain closed for the rest of the year, based on information and guidance from elected officials.
“This pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way that education will be delivered at all levels and especially how our Department will operate moving forward,” State Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said. “We have pushed our boundaries and created new ways of delivering on our mission, including expanding distance learning opportunities, establishing an equity of access approach to devices and the internet, and exploring work from home approaches that can help us rethink our real estate footprint for non-instructional staff.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said on April 17 that all schools will stay closed for the rest of the academic school year.
"And to children of all ages, this is a very strange moment that you’re living in," Pritzker said. "Your parents and I didn’t experience something like this when we were kids, but I can tell you for sure that the hard things we did live through, we learned from. And you’re going to learn from this. You’re going to see what it looks like when the world comes together and what it looks like to put your faith in science and research and the teams of people here in Illinois and beyond who are working on treatments and vaccines to save lives."
Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed an executive order on April 2 requiring all schools to remain closed for the rest of the year and to provide proof of remote instruction.
Schools must complete either 160 instructional days or at least 20 additional days of remote learning between April 2 and the end of the academic year.
“Students are the future of our state and teachers are the heart of our schools,” Holcomb said. “While COVID-19 is impacting every classroom, our teachers, administrators, school board members and school staff are going to extraordinary levels to deliver quality learning to students all across our state, even while school buildings are closed.”
Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced on April 17 that all school districts will stay closed until the end of the academic year.
“While I would like nothing more for students to be back in the classroom in May, we have to prioritize the health and safety of Iowans,” Reynolds tweeted.
Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said on March 17 that all schools in the state will close for the remainder of the school year.
"As Kansans, we have always done what is necessary to protect our families. This moment is no different," Kelly said.
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed a proclamation on April 15 ordering all public schools to close for the rest of the school year, with students continuing their education through online instruction.
“Closing public schools in Louisiana for the remainder of the year is not a choice I was excited to make, but it is one that is necessary to protect the safety of our children, our teachers and staff and the community at large,” Edwards said. “But, I want to be clear about something: This isn’t the end of learning, it’s just the end of students physically going to school campuses for the remainder of the semester.”
Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced the extended school closures on April 21.
"Remote learning will continue," he said in a tweet.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an executive order on April 2 closing all schools for the remainder of the academic year unless gathering restrictions are lifted.
“As a parent, I understand the challenge closing schools creates for parents and guardians across the state, which is why we are setting guidelines for schools to continue remote learning and ensuring parents have resources to continue their children’s education from the safety of their homes,” Whitmer said. “There is no video chat or homework packet that can replace the value of a highly trained, experienced teacher working with students in a classroom, but we must continue to provide equitable educational opportunities for students during this public health crisis.”
Gov. Tim WalzTim WalzJudge rejects Minnesota parents' attempt to force statewide school mask mandate Former Minnesota Senate Republican leader announces campaign for governor Minnesota parents sue Gov. Walz over lack of mask mandate in schools MORE (D) said on April 23 that all schools will stay closed for the rest of the academic year.
“Today we extended distance learning through the end of the year. As a former teacher, I know how hard this is for students, families, and teachers,” Walz tweeted. “It’s a long road ahead - but I will continue to put the safety and well-being of our families first. #StayHomeMN”
Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced on April 14 that all schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
“I know how hard teachers, students, all staff and parents have been working during this dangerous time. You have my deep respect and sincere admiration. It has been so encouraging to see the efforts of our education community to protect the people of Mississippi while ensuring learning takes place. I know our education community will do whatever it takes to make sure Mississippi kids don’t fall behind,” Reeves said.
Gov. Michael Parson (R) announced on April 9 that all schools will shut down for the rest of the academic year.
“Continuing our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, I am ordering all public and charter schools to remain closed through the remainder of this academic year, with the exception of nutrition and child care outlined in our Stay Home Missouri Order,” Parson said.
Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) said at an April 22 press conference that there will be no more in-person instruction at schools for the rest of the academic year.
“I have made the difficult decision to continue educating our students through distance learning for the rest of the school year. We will continue our efforts to support teachers, staff, students and families throughout the rest of this academic year,” Sisolak said.
Gov. Chris Sununu (R) issued an executive order on April 16 that called for the closure of schools for the remainder of the school year.
“We also know that it is heartbreaking for our high school seniors who have worked so hard over the course of their academic careers to get to this point, only to have the celebrations that they and their families were looking forward to enjoying not materialize,” Sununu wrote in a letter to educators. “That said, public health and the safety must be paramount in our decision making. Therefore, while this is a very difficult decision, it is the correct one.”
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said May 4 that schools will remain closed for in-person instruction for the rest of the school year.
“Guided by safety and science, this is the best course of action,” he said.
Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamDemocrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms Hochul makes New York the 31st state to have had a female governor New Mexico indoor mask mandate returns with new vaccine requirements MORE (D) signed an executive order on March 26 requiring all public schools remain closed for the academic year.
“My administration has made the very difficult decision, in close consultation with education & health leaders, to extend public school closures through the rest of the academic year. We have to continue to take aggressive steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Grisham tweeted.
Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoZeldin says he's in remission after treatment for leukemia Letitia James holding private talks on running for New York governor: report Governors brace for 2022 after year in pandemic spotlight MORE (D) said on May 1 that public schools would not resume in-person teaching for the remainder of the school year.
"Given the current situation, K-12 schools and college facilities will remain closed for the rest of the academic year and will continue to provide distance learning," Cuomo tweeted during a press briefing. "This is the best course of action to keep students, educators and staff safe."
Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said on April 24 that schools will continue remote learning for the rest of the academic year.
Cooper also announced new efforts to add WiFi to school buses and park them in areas where students don't have access to the internet, allowing them to use it for schoolwork.
“School buildings will stay closed to students for this school year, but school isn’t over,” Cooper said. “The decision to finish the year by remote learning was not made lightly, but it is the right thing to do to protect our students, teachers and communities. This is a difficult time for many children and parents, and I am grateful for all the educators, administrators, support staff and parents who have gone the extra mile to keep children learning.”
Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed an executive order on May 1 extending remote instruction for students for the rest of the school year.
“North Dakota has become a shining example of distance learning,” Burgum said. “While some states simply shut down schools with no alternative to classroom learning, our teachers and administrators quickly developed plans to continue educating our students via creative combinations of online instruction and effective use of good old fashioned books, reports and homework.”
Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said on April 20 that students will attend school remotely for the rest of the academic year.
“Why are we keeping schools closed? We've flattened the curve, but the virus remains,” DeWine tweeted. “Also, to go back to school now with a relatively small amount of time left - many educators have expressed to me that this wouldn't be a good idea even if the health situation was resolved."
The Oklahoma State Board of Education approved an order on March 25 requiring all schools to stay closed for the rest of the year.
“Oklahoma has tremendous educators – strong, dedicated, tenacious and smart. We have faith and confidence that our districts and teachers are committed to creative and innovative ways to continue learning for their students, and they will rise to this challenge,” said Joy Hofmeister, state superintendent.
Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced on April 8 that schools will continue to practice social distancing by requiring they remain closed until the end of the academic year.
“The best thing we can do for the health of our children, and for the thousands of educators across the state, is to give everyone certainty by announcing the decision today to close in-person classes for the remainder of the school year,” Brown said. “School and learning will continue as best as we can using remote means.”
Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said on April 9 that schools will stay closed for the rest of the academic year.
“In order to keep as many Pennsylvanians as possible safe, schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Special thank you to everyone who is doing their part to ensure our kids continue to learn and grow, even during these tough times,” Wolf tweeted.
Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced at an April 23 press conference that schools will continue to practice remote instruction by keeping districts closed for the rest of the academic year.
“Today, I'm announcing that we will need to continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year. I don’t make this decision lightly, but the reality is, we do not have enough data or evidence to inform a safe reopening,” Raimondo tweeted.
Gov. Henry McMaster (R) announced on April 22 that schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
“Thank you to our great teachers who have worked hard to adapt in these trying times to continue to provide an education to our students. We are indescribably grateful for your commitment and passion,” McMaster tweeted.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said on April 17 that schools will shutter for the rest of the academic year.
"Texans are battling a colossal challenge — an invisible enemy that has tested our lives and our livelihoods — but overcoming challenges is part of who we are as Texans," Abbott said. "We have shown that Texas can continue our efforts to contain COVID-19 while also adopting safe standards that will allow us to begin the process of reopening Texas."
Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced on April 14 that schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
“In consultation with the Utah State Board of Education, I have determined that we need to extend the soft closure of our public and charter schools through the remainder of the school year,” Herbert tweeted. “We’re tremendously grateful to all our teachers and counselors who are working hard to teach and take care of their students from a distance. I’m grateful for the creativity and resilience of all who are involved.”
Gov. Phil Scott (R) released a statement on March 26 extending school closures through the end of the academic year.
“The education of our students and the bonding and learning experiences they have at schools are tremendously important, so I fully appreciate the impact and difficulty of this decision,” Scott said in a statement. “I also recognize it will be challenging for some schools to implement remote learning through the end of the year. But I’m encouraged by the creativity I’ve seen from administrators, educators and parents already, which is why I know, together, they can rise to the occasion.”
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued a statement on March 23 requiring all schools to remain closed for the rest of the school year.
“This is an unprecedented situation, and it requires unprecedented actions to protect public health and save lives,” Northam said. “I know the next several weeks will be difficult.”
Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeSeattle area to require COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor venues Washington state troopers, firefighters sue over vaccine mandate Washington state enacting mask mandate for large outdoor events MORE (D) announced on April 6 that public and private schools will stay closed until next fall.
"This closure is guided by science and is our greatest opportunity to keep our kids, educators and communities safe," Inslee said. "If there is any opportunity to bring students back for a few days, including graduation ceremonies for our seniors, we will continue to explore that option. That opportunity will be guided by our collective behavior and the success we can achieve with the choices we make today."
Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced at an April 21 press briefing that all schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
“For all the children who are out there, please continue to try and keep up with your studies and all the stuff that you’re doing right now. Run through the finish line. Accomplish all you can accomplish this year,” Justice said.
Gov. Tony Evers (D) said on April 16 that he is extending the state’s stay-at-home order, which includes shutting down schools for the remainder of the academic year.
“These steps will help us reduce the risk of a second wave of the virus. If we open up too soon, we risk overwhelming our hospitals and requiring more drastic physical distancing measures again,” Evers said.