School buildings across the state will be closed through the end of the school year, Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. announced at a news conference on Tuesday, April 21.
Gov. Baker said that since there are currently no guidelines in place to keep children from contracting or spreading COVID-19 while in classrooms and on school buses, keeping the buildings closed is "the right thing to do." He said there does not seem to be a way to safely open the schools at this time.
The governor said learning will continue while the buildings are closed.
"This does not mean it's time to start summer vacation early," he said.
The difficulty of the decision was not lost on the governor, who acknowledged that many students and teachers are feeling a sense of loss right now as a result of the closures, whether it's a loss of time spent with friends and teachers, or a loss of springtime activities like plays, concerts, and sporting events.
He spoke specifically to high school seniors who have been looking forward to proms and graduations.
"To all seniors, keep your heads up," he said. "The end of the year may not proceed as planned, but there are brighter days ahead."
To help schools and parents with the continuation of remote learning, Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said that more information will be coming through the state Department of Education as to how to proceed with remote education. That guidance will be coming later this week, he said.