Da'vida Jones, 7, and her mom Jewel Lankster, are some of the first to arrive to collect a free breakfast at Cowell Elementary School on March 16, 2020 in Denver. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Colorado’s largest teachers union is calling on all schools in the state to close as other businesses and activities grind to a halt in efforts to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Already more than 95% of the state’s K-12 students are out of school for at least the next two weeks, with the first wave of closures occurring last Thursday evening. Dozens of small rural districts across the state remain open. Some of those districts are on spring break this week and expect to make decisions soon on whether to resume classes.

But the head of the Colorado Education Association said Tuesday that Gov. Jared Polis should take action, rather than continue to leave the decision up to districts.

“Governor Polis has taken decisive steps to ensure the safety and health of Coloradans by making tough decisions to temporarily close down restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, breweries, and coffeehouses,” CEA President Amie Baca-Oehlert said in a press release. “Yet there has been no order or recommendation to superintendents to close down Colorado’s public schools for public health and safety as we have seen happen in other states.

“Today we call on the governor and the superintendents of schools that have yet to close to put the health and safety of students and educators first in order to help stave off this massive public health crisis.”

When he declared a state of emergency last week, Polis said he would defer to local control on school closures unless there was a compelling reason to override it. Since then, state and local governments have announced increasing restrictions, from closing the state’s ski resorts to forcing all restaurants to end dine-in service.

Read more at chalkbeat.org.

Erica Meltzer, Chalkbeat

Bureau Chief — Chalkbeat Colorado Email: emeltzer@chalkbeat.org