At least 10,600 schools have been closed or are scheduled to close in the United States as of Thursday night due to the novel coronavirus, a number that is over 8,500 more than Wednesday’s number of 2,097.
Education Week reports the school closures due to the virus are affecting at least 4.9 million students.
“Schools are closing for many reasons related to coronavirus, including exposures, cleaning, or planning for extended closures,” the report states.
According to 2015-2016 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are 132,853 K-12 schools, public and private, in the U.S., including 88,665 elementary schools, 26,986 secondary schools, 16,511 combined schools, and 691 other uncategorized.
In other states, superintendents are making the decision to close their school districts indefinitely, after consulting with state and local public health agencies.
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic this week, though the U.N. agency did not make recommendations about school closings, leaving that decision to individual nations.
Today, we released new resources for educators and local leaders on K-12 flexibilities, student privacy, and educating students with disabilities during the coronavirus outbreak. More info at: https://t.co/y505E6HQS1
— U.S. Department of Education (@usedgov) March 12, 2020
On Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released resources for K-12 teachers and local officials on managing student privacy and ensuring disabled students receive required services during school closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In addition, since the federal education department issues directives regarding requirements, assessments, and accountability to all local public school districts, the department is considering “flexibilities” during this time of many school closures amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Among the resources is a “Q & A” document that has been posted to assist state and local education officials with information regarding services required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
The IDEA guidance states that, if local education authorities continue to provide education to the general student population during a school closure, then they must also ensure disabled students have equal access to those education opportunities.