By Natasha Brown


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — All Pennsylvania schools will be closed for the rest of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Pennsylvania’s education secretary signed the order, which means students and teachers will be relying on remote learning to finish the curriculum.

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The academic year for 1.7 million Pennsylvania students will end without ever stepping foot back inside a school building. All K-12 Pennsylvania schools will remain closed.

“Schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year, but that doesn’t mean learning is stopping in Pennsylvania. While this was a critical step for us to take to protect as many people as possible, it was not an easy decision to make,” Gov. Tom Wolf said.

Students will spend the rest of the school year learning remotely.

Philadelphia school officials say they had already started to plan ahead in anticipation of this announcement.

“We were planning for an eventual announcement of that sort already. This just allows us to plan more specifically around this issue,” Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite said.

Wolf first closed schools on March 13 during the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak and then extended the closure indefinitely as the rapid spread of the virus became more and more uncontrollable.

Philadelphia schools, like other districts around the commonwealth, are devising plans on how to educate students throughout the rest of the school year.

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“Free meals for kids will continue, connections will continue. This virus has not stopped you from helping your children to safely learn, grow, and know they’re cared about every single day,” Wolf said.

With the graduation season quickly approaching, many districts around the state are expecting to hold virtual commencement exercises to ensure that everyone stays safe.