Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered the state’s K-12 schools to close for two additional weeks on Monday as the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise and spread to more counties across the state.

Wolf made the announcement as part of the daily update on the number of COVID-19 cases along with additional stay-at-home orders in five eastern Pennsylvania counties and Allegheny County.

On March 13, Wolf ordered all K-12 schools to close for two weeks over COVID-19 concerns. At the time, he indicated that decision would be re-evaluated to decide whether continued closure would be needed near the end of the two-week closure. He also announced at the time that districts would not face penalties for failing to meet the state’s 180 instructional day mandate.

Further, state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera announced on Thursday that the state exams would be cancelled for the 2019-20 school year. PSSA testing administered in grades three through eight was scheduled to begin April 20. Keystone testing for high school students was scheduled to begin May 11. He said the department was submitting a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education to gain its blessing from this federal school accountability mandate that also would apply to the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment.

Other states have taken similar action to try to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly was the first in the nation to order the closure of K-12 schools in her state for the remainder of the school year. A majority of states thus far have closed schools until the end of March or early April. In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee ordered schools to close for six weeks, while New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy put no end date for lifting his school closing order.

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