JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has recommended that school districts in the state keep campuses closed through May 1 as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to skyrocket.
The school districts in Duval, Clay, Columbia, St. Johns, Nassau, Baker and Flagler counties announced they will follow the recommendation from the Florida Department of Education and keep schools closed during April. It wasn’t immediately clear if all school districts in the state would follow suit.
News from the Florida Department of Education pic.twitter.com/0rFNNNeZhT— Flagler Schools (@FlaglerSchools) March 30, 2020
The recommendation follows President Donald J. Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) extension of social distancing guidelines until April 30th.
“While we work together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, one constant remains — students can and will continue to receive a great education in Florida. It is essential that students do not fall behind and are still receiving instruction, even when they are not in the classroom,” Corcoran said in a press release Tuesday. “Florida has superb superintendents and educators whose commitment to implementing distance learning for all of Florida’s students is unmatched. It is crucial that we keep students safe and healthy, and I will continue working with each and every district to ensure that they have all the resources necessary as we respond to COVID-19.”
Corcoran originally closed schools through April 15, but a lot has changed since he first made that recommendation two weeks ago. Then, there were just over 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. As of Monday afternoon, there were over 5,400 confirmed cases in Florida.
Students across the state transitioned to remote learning after campuses shut down and will continue until at least May 1. The plan, for now, is to reopen schools on May 4, but that could change.
“Rest assured that Clay County District Schools stands prepared to continue supporting students’ learning during this extended closure using the Instructional Continuity Plan,” the district said in a Facebook post.
DeSantis said two weeks ago he wasn’t ready to mandate that K-12 students continue virtual and distance learning for the rest of the school year, but didn’t rule it out.
The last day of school for Clay County students is June 3. The final school day is May 27 in St. Johns County and May 29 in Duval County.