The Florida Department of Education has asked all Florida schools to close for two weeks for spring break from March 16 to March 27.

All Florida public schools are closing for two weeks starting Monday, essentially extending next week's scheduled spring break by another week, in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.


The Florida Department of Education said Friday evening that Commissioner Richard Corcoran strongly recommended all schools follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for COVID-19 in Florida. Those guidelines, issued Friday, suggested that schools consider extending spring breaks.



"Keeping students healthy and safe is my number one priority, and that is why we are recommending that districts follow the CDC’s guidance for Florida," Corcoran said in a press release. "We are continuing to monitor COVID-19, and I encourage all Floridians to remain informed and take the necessary precautions that have been issued by the CDC."


Florida education officials also said the start of state testing would be delayed by a minimum of two weeks.


Coronavirus Florida: Publix to close retail stores at 8 p.m. nightly starting March 14


While students are away, per guidance from the state, the school district will implement deep cleaning at all schools and continue to refine plans for remote learning if closures are extended beyond the end of the month.


As the news broke late Friday, school districts across the state scrambled to send out announcements on social media about the closings.


The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Friday it would work with school districts to provide meals to students.


This story was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.