GA Coronavirus: Public Schools To Stay Closed To April 24

Andrea V. Watson

This article originally appeared on the Atlanta Patch

ATLANTA, GA — Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday that all public schools in Georgia will now be closed through at least April 24 due to the risk of the coronavirus spreading. He signed an executive order extending the closure date.

“I am deeply grateful to State School Superintendent Richard Woods, the Georgia Department of Education, superintendents, and parents for keeping us informed and helping us make the right decision for our students,” Kemp said.

"Throughout this process, we will continue to seek the advice of public health officials, school leaders, and families to ensure the health and safety of the educational community. As we approach April 24, 2020, we ask for continued patience and flexibility since circumstances may change, but we encourage families to stay strong and follow the guidance of federal, state, and local leaders in the weeks ahead.”

Georgia State Sen. Jen Jordan said that the governor will decide on what to do with the remainder of the school year in the next few weeks.

Originally, Kemp ordered for schools in Georgia to be closed until Tuesday.

Gov. Brian Kemp tells WSB that he's still deciding if his executive order needs to be extended, a decision that will be determined this week.

He's expected to participate in a live town hall Thursday at 8 p.m. where he will be joined by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency Director Homer Bryson, and Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King.

Kemp said Tuesday he was meeting with State School Superintendent Richard Woods and other local school district officials to agree on a plan that would protect children, families and educators from the spread of the coronavirus, according to the news station.

Don't miss updates about coronavirus precautions in Georgia as they are announced. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters.

Woods tells WSB that they are in communication with people across the state to determine the best way to complete the school year.

“The Department of Education has been hard at work every day just to keep things going as much as we can, but we are kind of anticipating to see where we’re going to be past the March 31 deadline and see what school will look like for us for the foreseeable future,” Wood said.

“We’re being very flexible as we can see. I’m being hopeful, but we have to look at keeping our kids and faculty and community safe. That’s the first priority.”

New numbers announced Wednesday show that nearly 400 Georgians are hospitalized, 40 have died, and 1,247 have been infected with coronavirus, the Georgia Department of Public Health said.

Fulton County has the most cases in the state with 198, followed by DeKalb with 116.

Globally, more than 487,000 people have been infected and more than 22,000 people have died from the new coronavirus, Johns Hopkins reported Thursday. Of that total, more than 69,000 confirmed cases were in the United States, with more than 1,000 U.S. deaths tied to the virus outbreak.