Governor closes schools until at least April 1

ALBANY COUNTY — Schools across Albany County that had closed for a week, starting today, will now be closed until April 1, according to an executive order Governor Andrew Cuomo signed this afternoon.

The state has suspended its requirement for 180 days of instruction during a school year.

On April 1, the state will reassess whether to extend the school closures further and continue to suspend the 180-day instructional requirement, according to a release from the governor’s office; schools that exceed the closure period without state authorization will not be exempted from the 180-day rule.

“The single most effective way to slow the spread of this virus is to reduce close contacts, and that includes in our schools,” Cuomo said in the release. “I am directing the closure of all schools throughout the state for two weeks as we continue working aggressively to ramp up testing, isolate those who are sick, and mitigate the impacts of this virus.

“Every district will be required to submit a plan to ensure children of healthcare workers and first responders have access to child care so these closures do not strain our hospitals and that children who depend on school meal programs continue getting the support they need.”

School districts will be required to develop a plan for alternative instructional options, including distance learning; distribution and availability of meals; and daycare, with an emphasis on children of parents of first responders and healthcare workers.

Those plans must be submitted to the State Education Department, which can amend or modify those plans in consultation with the State Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services at any time.

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