Dunleavy administration extends school closures through the end of the school year

UpdateAndrew Kitchenman, KTOO and Alaska Public Media

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced on Thursday that schools would remain suspended through the end of the school year. No traditional classes will be held, though schools are providing distance learning.

Dunleavy, state Health Commissioner Adam Crum and state Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink announced updates to previous health mandates at the daily COVID-19 news briefing.

Many schools are scheduled to hold their last day during the week of May 18.

Dunleavy also announced that school districts will be able to keep more money in savings as they head into next school year.

Crum said that dental elective procedures will be suspended until further notice.

The state mandates requiring that people remain at their homes, closing nonessential businesses and restricting travel in the state were extended by 10 days, through April 21. The state will reevaluate those mandates by then.

Original storyRashah McChesney, KTOO

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at a news conference on COVID-19 in Anchorage on March 26. Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum spoke remotely and appeared on a TV screen to the governor’s right. (Creative Commons photo courtesy Alaska Governor’s Office)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s latest COVID-19 press conference is scheduled for 5 p.m.

The governor, Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink have been holding these briefings almost daily since March 10.

They’ve shared updates on the number of people in the state with confirmed cases, announced public health mandates and explained the administration’s strategy and rationale.

To date, they’ve imposed 12 public health mandates that have reshaped daily life across Alaska to combat the spread of the virus. Those mandates and other Alaska-specific COVID-19 resources and information are available at coronavirus.alaska.gov.

During Thursday’s press conference, Dunleavy’s administration is expected to announce changes to some of those mandates.

The number of Alaskans diagnosed with COVID-19 grew by nine on Wednesday, to 235, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services.

The state reported no new deaths and no new hospitalizations. The number of Alaskans who have recovered from the disease jumped to 49, up from 32 a day earlier.

Of the nine new cases, four are from the Municipality of Anchorage, two are from the Fairbanks North Star Borough, one is from the Kenai Peninsula Borough and one is from Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

More than 7,200 tests had been performed in Alaska by the end of the day Wednesday.

You can watch Thursday’s press conference live on this post, the governor’s Facebook or Livestream pages, or on 360 North television.

The headline for this story has been updated.

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