Gov. Jared Polis on Monday said the chance of K-12 schools in Colorado resuming in-person classes this school year was "very unlikely."
The assessment from Polis came on the same day schools around Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region were scheduled to return to class via remote learning. Most local schools were on extended spring breaks, having last been in class March 13.
The state has seen a 60% reduction in road traffic from four weeks ago, a drop Polis called "significant" during his Monday news conference. But he said traffic isn't a perfect proxy for social activity and cautioned that the dip in movement is insufficient.
Statewide, the total diagnoses of COVID-19, the disease caused by the fast-spreading virus, have reached 2,627, up from 2,307 cases Sunday, Polis said. Total deaths are now at 51, up from 47 Sunday.
The closure of bars and restaurants, and Denver Public Schools' shutdown earlier this month appear to be slowing the virus's spread, Polis said. At its peak, the rate of positive tests was doubling every one and a half to two days. That has slowed to a doubling of positive tests every five days, he said.
"It it still an extremely contagious virus, which shows why just closing bars and restaurants wasn't enough," Polis said, reiterating the reason for his issuing a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday.
The spread's slowing will "buy us a little more time, but we really have to drive that further," he said. "The more we can stay at home, the more effective these measures will be, and the sooner we can return to being able to support ourselves and earn a paycheck."
The effect of the order on the virus' curve should be visible next week, and the effect of the closure of schools statewide as early as Saturday, he added.
Once the order is lifted, "the new world won't look exactly like the old world," Polis cautioned, saying that whether the order is lifted on April 11 as originally expected or April 30, life won't immediately return to normal.