This story was originally published by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here: ckbe.at/newsletters
Colorado schools will be closed for the rest of the school year, even as Gov. Jared Polis laid out a plan for a partial reopening of many non-essential businesses.
The governor’s office announced the extended closure hours after Polis held a news conference describing a phased approach that would allow many non-essential retail businesses, manufacturing plants, offices, and service providers to re-open from April 27 to May 4.
One slide presented at that new conference indicated that K-12 schools and institutions of higher education would remain closed, but Polis placed no date on the extension and did not talk about schools at all. Chalkbeat was not able to ask any questions at the news conference.
“During this phase Coloradans will no longer be ordered to stay home, but are still strongly encouraged to do so. Vulnerable populations and seniors must continue staying home except when absolutely necessary and K-12 school districts and postsecondary institutions will continue to suspend normal in-person instruction until the end of the school year,” a news release from the governor’s office said.
Colorado’s current stay-at-home order expires Sunday. A separate order closed all Colorado schools through April 30, and roughly two dozen school districts that serve the majority of Colorado students, including most districts in the Denver metro area, already had made their own decision to close through the end of the school year in late May.
More than half the states in the country have closed their schools for the rest of the academic year, and Polis had said repeatedly that it was “unlikely” that school would return to session. However, Polis had not previously made a formal decision, and many districts, especially in rural parts of the state, had held off on their own decisions as well.