Baker: All Bay State schools will remain closed through end of April

BOSTON (WHDH) - All schools and childcare programs across the Commonwealth will remain closed through the end of April due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday.

RELATED: 679 new COVID-19 cases in Mass., total rises to 1,838 with 15 coronavirus-related deaths, health officials say

Baker issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools, and all non-emergency childcare programs until May 4 in an effort to prevent the further spread of the virus.

“This will allow school districts to provide the best possible opportunities for remote learning to all students,” Baker said at a news conference at the State House.

Baker explained that the extension will allow school administrators and educators additional planning time to ensure students can complete course requirements, as well as provide teachers with time to expand remote learning opportunities.

Earlier this month, Baker announced that all schools would be suspending operations through April 7.

Baker also announced that the Department of Public Health has issued a new order to support pharmacies, grocery stores, and their employees during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Pharmacies and stores must provide at least one hour of shopping each day dedicated to adults over the age of 60, in addition to offering an array of sanitation options, according to the order. Appropriate social distancing policies must be enforced.

Baker lifted the state’s ban on plastic grocery bags, announcing that reusable bags would be prohibited until further notice.

A “stay-at-home” advisory went into effect in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

There are now 1,838 confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, up from 1,159 cases on Tuesday, health officials announced Wednesday. Fifteen deaths have been reported.

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