ATLANTA (WSAV) – Georgia’s governor on Thursday extended closure for public elementary and secondary schools through April 24 as COVID-19 cases in the state surpass 1,500.

Earlier this month, Gov. Brian Kemp ordered schools only to close through Tuesday, March 31 due to COVID-19 concerns.

“As we approach April 24, 2020, we ask for continued patience and flexibility since circumstances may change, but we encourage families to stay strong and follow the guidance of federal, state, and local leaders in the weeks ahead,” the governor said.

Schools will still conduct online and remote learning and may return to school on Monday, April 27, according to Kemp’s new order.

The governor said the University System of Georgia and Technical College System of Georgia will remain closed for in-person instruction through the rest of the semester since students have already transitioned to all online learning.

In recent days, Kemp has been pressed on why he hasn’t issued any shelter or stay orders for Georgia. Namely, Atlanta, Savannah and Athens have put stay at home measures into place.

“Many times they’re not enforcing it,” Kemp said in an interview with WRBL. “There’s other essential businesses that have to operate so you still have people moving around.”

He added: “It is easy to say ‘shelter in place’ and lock everything down. But it’s a hard thing to do. It’s not realistic. We don’t have the amount of testing we need to get a handle on that and be able to do that.”

Kemp and other officials are expected to hold a statewide town hall starting at 8 p.m.

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