Photo: Viktor Hanacek

Alaska’s public and private K-12 schools won't be re-opening this semester, Governor Michael Dunleavy announced Thursday. Previously it was expected that they would re-open May 1.

“The reason for this is, we don’t know what this virus is going to do, and we’re trying to give as much certainty as we can to the public," Dunleavy said. “To wait another two weeks or three weeks when we’re already close to the school year by that point, we feel would cause more disruption and more confusion. So we’re extending the mandate for the rest of the year.”

School districts will continued instruction via distance learning programs to finish off the term, according to state officials. Graduation ceremonies are specifically prohibited under a social distancing health mandate.

Incident command leaders will “consider whether the state’s health outlook will safely allow for small groups of students to meet with their teachers in-person for final student conferences before the end of the school year.”