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Gov. Edwards Closes Louisiana Public Schools In Response To Coronavirus Spread

Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks at a press conference March 13, 2020.

All public schools in Louisiana will be closed starting Monday, March 16. Governor John Bel Edwards signed the proclamation Friday afternoon.

The decision comes as the nation scrambles to stop the spread of coronavirus. Conventions and festivals have been cancelled locally and nationally.

Schools are to remain closed until April 13, the proclamation states, and schools may offer distance learning “as capabilities exist.”

This week, administrators said the school district was communicating with individual schools to assess what resources would be needed to make distance learning possible — from wireless hotspots to computers.

At an emergency board meeting Friday afternoon, the Orleans Parish School Board approved the emergency spending of $5 million for coronavirus-related expenditures. That includes distance learning resources and technology, sanitation services, and meal delivery to students, but an official plan has not yet been released, leaving questions about when such resources might be made available.

The proclamation from Gov. Edwards also suspends the required number of minutes students must receive instruction per year, which would likely remove the need for classes to be made up later. 

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As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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