Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order Wednesday evening closing all of the state's schools from March 23 to at least April 17 to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.
"We are acting boldly and swiftly together to protect the health and safety of all Coloradans. The science and data tells us this will get worse before it gets better," Polis said. "We are in this together and the state is taking the necessary actions to slow the spread of this disease."
The governor also announced that the state Department of Public Health and Environment had issued a public health order that goes into effect Thursday morning, March 19, and "will limit all mass gatherings to no more than 10 people for the next 30 days unless otherwise extended by the executive director of CDPHE."
The schools order requires both public and private schools and school districts and the Charter School Institute to close. It also requires schools to "make every effort" to provide alternative instruction to the state's K-12 students.
Many of the state's largest districts, including Denver, Aurora and Jeffco, had already announced plans to stay closed either before or after Spring Break, into the first days of April. But some districts have remained open.
Earlier in the day Polis held a press conference and hinted at the likelihood of a longer than expected - and statewide - school closure.