Students across the state of Indiana officially started their summer earlier than ever Thursday afternoon with the announcement that the state was officially keeping schools closed for the remainder of the school year to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

State Superintendent, Dr. Jennifer McCormick, made the announcement during Governor Eric Holcomb's COVID-19 press briefing Thursday afternoon which can be seen around the 5:50 mark of the video below.

As positive tests for the virus started popping up around the state a few weeks ago, Governor Holcomb instructed all school systems to close their doors, and families to keep students at home. At that time, the Governor set a possible return date for April 6th, which would have been this Monday. That date was pushed back as the number of cases across the state continued to grow daily. With those numbers continuing to climb, the possibility of students returning before the official end of the school year quickly faded away leading to today's announcement.

The early end to the school year doesn't necessarily mean students are done with school work. As Dr. McCormick mentioned in her statement, schools are must meet 160 instructional days before officially ending instruction for the year. This can be done (and is in many cases) through "remote instruction through the remainder of the school year." Meaning either through virtual learning on paper packets parents can pick up at their child's school and return on a date determined by their school corporation.

Unfortunately, this means any hope high school seniors had of being able to walk across a stage in a cap and gown and collect their diploma, or enjoy the other frills of their senior year, is effectively over. McCormick addressed those students directly during her announcement saying that seniors who had met all the credit requirements up to the end of their seventh semester, and are currently enrolled in classes, will receive the credit for those classes, and will be recognized as a Class of 2020 graduate at the end of the instructional year. Any and all required exams for graduation have been waived.

You can watch the entire press briefing in the Facebook video above.

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