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Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced that Pennsylvania schools will stay closed for the rest of the academic year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus during this national crisis,” Wolf said in a statement. “This was not an easy decision but closing schools until the end of the academic year is in the best interest of our students, school employees, and families.”

The decision applies to “all public K-12 schools, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers, and intermediate units,” according to the governor’s office. Colleges and universities will not be allowed to reopen their physical locations until Wolf lifts the closure of businesses not deemed “life sustaining” or releases a separate order.

The governor had previously said that Pennsylvania schools would be closed indefinitely — an extended shutdown that began when Wolf on March 13 ordered schools closed for two weeks.

Since then, schools across the state have been grappling with how to continue instructing students at home. Some districts began a learning program the first week schools were closed, while others have yet to launch formal online instruction.

Wolf’s administration said schools “are strongly encouraged to provide continuity of education for all students in the most appropriate and accessible ways possible.”

Sarah Anne Hughes of Spotlight PA contributed to this article.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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