ST. LOUIS ( -- Public and charter schools in Missouri will not hold in-person classes for the rest of the school year.

The announcement was made Thursday as a growing number of states have shut down schools for the year amid the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he consulted school district officials from cities of varying sizes across the state to make the decision. Online learning will continue through the spring semester.

[RELATED: News 4 is tracking cases on both sides of the river by jurisdiction]

Parson said districts should continue e-learning until the regularly scheduled last day or school. He said this was a difficult decision, but called it necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

"For you seniors out there, I understand how disappointing this will be to not be able to have that graduation ceremony, but let me assure you this, we will work with DESE, we will work with the superintendents across the state to make sure you get the opportunity to walk down that aisle and receive that diploma at some point," said Parson. 

The Archdiocese of St. Louis also announced they have canceled in-person classes through the semester.

Parents told News 4 they aren't surprised by the decision. 

“I wasn’t really surprised... I think most of us thought that it was coming but it’s still a little sad. Every time we get another dose of reality that COVID-19 is as serious as we know it is. It just takes a moment to remember that this is a temporary normal," said Brooke Eggleston, mom of a first grader in the Parkway district. 

As of Thursday, Missouri reached 3,664 cases. At least 89 people have died across the state during the outbreak.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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