Atlanta Ga. (Gray DC) -- As cases of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, soar in Georgia and across the United States, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is extending public school closures.
Thursday afternoon, the Republican Governor announced he would be signing an executive order to close public elementary and secondary schools for in-person education through April 24. For now, Kemp says students, instructors and staff can plan to return to school on April 27.
"I am deeply grateful to State School Superintendent Richard Woods, the Georgia Department of Education, superintendents, and parents for keeping us informed and helping us make the right decision for our students," said Governor Kemp in a statement.
"Throughout this process, we will continue to seek the advice of public health officials, school leaders, and families to ensure the health and safety of the educational community," said Kemp. "...we ask for continued patience and flexibility since circumstances may change, but we encourage families to stay strong and follow the guidance of federal, state, and local leaders in the weeks ahead."
Kemp's office says the University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia will remain closed for in-person instruction through the rest of the semester as students have already moved over to all online learning.
Thursday morning, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported 1,525 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 48 deaths in the state so far. The department reports 473 patients have been hospitalized from the virus.
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