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Governor: Schools closed for rest of year, election moved back again until July 11

Gov. John Bel Edwards was expected to announce two major developments in the state’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday, according to numerous media reports.

On Monday, during a meeting with reporters in Monroe, Edwards confirmed that he planned to issue a proclamation later in the week declaring that all schools would remain closed through the remainder of the school year.

As of Tuesday afternoon’s press time, Edwards’ office had not officially issued the proclamation, which was expected to be released later that day.

On Monday, Edwards visited Monroe — a city that had been ravaged by tornadoes Sunday evening.

“It’s just not going to be feasible to resume the operation of our schools this academic year,” Edwards told reporters.

Schools across the state have been closed since March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many schools have been utilizing online curriculums to help students continue “distance learning.”

Edwards told reporters Monday that he planned to officially announce that schools would not resume, and that distance learning will continue until the end of the 2019-20 school year.

Sen. Cleo Fields, education chairman of the Louisiana State Senate on Education, released a statement in support of the governor’s plan.

“The governor’s decision to close schools for the remainder of this academic school year due to COVID-19 is in the best interest of our state’s students and citizens,” Fields said. “Although the situation is far from ideal, I am confident that the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state Department of Education, our school systems, schools, teachers and our higher education system will do everything possible to ensure students are not placed at an academic disadvantage.

“I understand many have concerns about missed instructional time and whether students will be prepared to advance to the next level. Whether student needs are addressed through on-line instruction, summer remediation, an earlier start date for the next academic year, co-requisite instruction in the fall, or other avenues, I expect that our educators will work diligently to ensure that students are prepared to progress academically.”

Also Tuesday, Edwards announced that the state of Louisiana’s elections have been postponed for several more weeks, due to COVID-19.

The June 20 Presidential Preference Primary election in Louisiana has been rescheduled to July 11, from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. The July 25 election has been rescheduled to August 15 from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.