Schools to stay closed until September

 

classroom2

Ontario students will not be going back to class until September at the earliest.

The Ontario government announced Tuesday that it is “protecting the health and safety of students during the COVID-19 outbreak” by keeping schools closed for the rest of this school year.

“This decision was made after consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, and medical experts at the Hospital for Sick Children,” the province said in its announcement.

“At the same time, the government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.”

Tuesday’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“Nothing is more important than protecting our kids in this province, bar none over anything,” said Premier Ford.

“Today’s announcement gives parents certainty, knowing that their children can continue to learn safely at home and that we have a plan for child care as we work to gradually reopen more of our economy, when it is safe to do so.”

All students who were on track to graduate from secondary school before the initial school closure order was made in March will be able to graduate, and all students will receive report cards.

The province said that, later this summer, it will announce a plan to strengthen “learning and safety protocols” to allow students and staff to return to in-class instruction for the 2020-21 school year.

“That plan will be bolstered by an enhanced province-wide virtual learning program that will allow all students to learn, regardless of the challenges that may transpire in the coming months.”

Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed through “Stage 1” of the province’s framework for reopening.

Emergency child care will continue to operate and provide support for health care and other front-line workers.

A gradual reopening of child care is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to “Stage 2” based on public health criteria, which will include “robust safety protocols” for the safety of Ontario’s youngest learners and their staff.

“We will never waver from our commitment to keep your child safe, while learning at home,” said Minister Lecce.

“Our plan will ensure students receive the best educational experience, both inside and outside the classroom, during this difficult time. That is why we are strengthening summer learning opportunities, reopening summer day camps, and it is why we will continue to make the case for synchronous, live, and dynamic learning.”

Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, may be permitted in July and August of this year.

Overnight camps will not be permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.

> for more local coverage, pick up a copy of this week’s NRT. To get the NRT delivered directly to your mail box or inbox each week, subscribe here.