MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz has ordered Minnesota schools to stay closed through the rest of the academic year amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Walz, who is a former teacher, calls it “a heartbreaking decision.” The Democratic governor says he feels sorry for all the students who will miss out on graduations, tournaments and end of year celebrations. But Walz says the health and safety of Minnesotans is his top priority, so distance learning will continue through the end of this school year.

Walz also outlined his approach for gradually loosening restrictions on Minnesota businesses over time. He says his decision will allow up to 100,000 Minnesotans to return to work in industrial, manufacturing and office settings next Monday.

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