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Schools close for academic year

Pennsylvania schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Gov. Tom Wolf made the announcement on Thursday morning.

In making the decision, Wolf was quick to note that the closure “doesn’t mean learning will stop in Pennsylvania.”

He called the closure a “critical step to take” but “not an easy decision to make.”

Wolf said “Pennsylvanians have stepped up in response to this unprecedented situation” and highlighting educational efforts in homes across the Commonwealth, volunteers who are packing meals and teachers who continue to provide learning opportunities for students “from a distance.”

“Many of the important things that schools provide will continue,” he added. “Teaching and learning will continue. Free meals for kids will continue. Connections, they’ll continue. This virus has not stopped you from helping your children to safely learn, grow and know they’re cared about every single day.

“I’m proud of you and I hope you’re proud, too,” he said, thanking Pennsylvanians for their efforts. “We will get through this.”

According to a statement from the Pennsylvania Department of Education:

“Schools are strongly encouraged to provide continuity of education for all students in the most appropriate and accessible ways possible,” according to a statement from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

“While the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and its mitigation efforts have created uncertainty in our schools and communities, today’s action to close schools for the remainder of the academic year provides school communities with predictability and understanding of the conditions under which they’ll be operating and serving students,” PDE Secretary Pedro Rivera said. “As schools and communities adapt to the prolonged school closure, PDE will continue to work with our state, educational, and business and nonprofit partners to meet the needs of students.”

Per PDE, the closure applies to “all public K-12 schools, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers and intermediate units,” among other entities.

Wolf was scheduled to participate in a virtual press conference later in the day on Thursday but technical issues prevented him from joining.

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