SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State of Alaska issued a new health mandate on Thursday to extend schools closure in order to protect the public health and mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
Governor of Alaska Mike Dunleavy announced the extension in a media briefing with Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum and the state's chief medical officer, Anne Zink.
According to the mandate, the statewide school closure of all K-12 public and private schools is extended from May 1, 2020, to the end of the 2019-2020 school year to flatten the curve and disrupt the spread of the virus.
Student learning will continue, per each school district's individual plan, to provide distance-delivered educational services to students, the mandate said.
As school districts contemplate how to properly celebrate this year's graduates, the mandate also warns that social distancing is still in effect, which prohibits gathering for events, such as graduation.
"I know that these decisions have impacted sports, proms, get-togethers, graduations, and we know that a lot of our seniors are only going to get one shot at this," Dunleavy said in the briefing, "This would not happen unless we were dealing with this epidemic, this pandemic, and trying to keep people safe."
The state's Department of Health and Social Services confirmed a total of 235 cases and seven fatalities in the state of Alaska as of noon Thursday.