Colorado schools closed from March 23 to April 17 to fight coronavirus spread |

Colorado schools closed from March 23 to April 17 to fight coronavirus spread

All Colorado schools, public and private, will remain closed through at least April 17.

Gov. Jared Polis signed an order Wednesday evening “suspending in-person learning” in the latest attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The governor’s executive order also directs Colorado school and charter districts to make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities while taking their communities’ needs into account.

Eagle County Schools’ online learning started Tuesday through ECS Learns on the school district’s website.

During a Wednesday morning press conference, Polis left the door open for even more school-building closings when he said it was “increasingly unlikely” that school buildings will reopen this year.

Eagle County Schools emergency declaration

Eagle County Schools filed an emergency declaration with the state, a move the school district said will help access state and federal resources, money it will likely need as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the region.

To be eligible for state and federal money earmarked for the pandemic, the school district said it needed to make the emergency declaration.

Eagle County’s school board voted Friday to empower Superintendent Phil Qualman to cancel in-person classes until April 8. With Polis’ executive order the buildings will be closed until at least April 17.

Aspen, Roaring Fork schools already closed

Public schools from Parachute to Aspen beat the governor in announcing their closure Wednesday afternoon. Garfield, Roaring Fork and Aspen school districts made a joint announcement.

Those public schools are anticipated to resume on April 20, but only if social isolation orders are lifted, their announcement said.

Polis adopting CDC guidelines

In his Wednesday order, Polis also adopted guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people, including sporting events, concerts, parades, fairs, church gatherings and more.

“We are acting boldly and swiftly together to protect the health and safety of all Coloradans,” Polis said in a statement. “The science and data tells us this will get worse before it gets better. We are in this together and the state is taking the necessary actions to slow the spread of this disease.”

Polis’ order also directs the commissioner of education to issue guidance supporting school systems as they help families access alternative learning, according to a state news release.

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