All Kansas public schools to close for the rest of the school year

School closed hanging sign.

Governor Laura Kelly has announced all public schools will stop meeting in person, switching to digital classes for the rest of the school year in a sweeping response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am ordering all K-12 to close and cease in-person instruction for the duration of the 2019-2020 semester," Gov. Kelly said.

The announcement comes after multiple school districts in the Kansas City metro had announced extended spring breaks lasting through Friday, April 3. Those on the Kansas side will now be faced with extended online classwork lasting until the summer.

"The steps we're announcing today will create the space we need at the state level... so that we can get ahead of this threat and limit its long term impact," Kelly said.

The decision was announced in the wake of several new cases in Kansas on March 17th. There were 17 positive cases in the state at the time of the announcement.

"Closing classrooms and moving to this continuous learning plan... can in no way replicate the great learning that goes on in our world-class schools," Dr. Randy Watson, Commissioner for the Kansas State Department of Education, said. He also said resources will be provided to public and private schools for online learning going forward.

Missouri officials have not announced any specific plans for postponing or digitizing school for the rest of the semester.

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The Kansas House also approved a bill that would give jobless workers an additional 10 weeks of unemployment benefits.