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Ontario schools to remain closed to in-person learning until September

Wednesday, June 02, 2021 @ 3:34 PM | By Amanda Jerome

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on June 2 that schools across the province will stay closed for the remainder of the school year due to COVID-19 concerns. Remote learning will continue for elementary and secondary schools with a return to in-person learning expected for September 2021.

“At a time when our top priority is putting the third wave behind us so that we can safely enter Step One of our Roadmap to Reopen, we can’t risk increased cases and potential downstream impacts on hospitals and ICUs,” said Ford in a statement.

“Making this tough decision now will allow kids to safely enjoy camps and outdoor activities this summer, and a safe return to school in September,” he added.

Ford also noted that students should be able to have graduation celebrations outdoors. According to a government release, school boards are allowed to “invite graduating students in elementary schools (by class) and secondary schools (by homeroom/quadmestered class) to return to school in June for a short, outdoor celebration, where physical distancing is possible.”

Stephen Lecce, minister of education, noted in a statement that “while this decision was not made lightly, it has been done with one aim: protect the summer for families and deliver a stable and safe September for students.”

“We are looking forward and taking action by getting all education workers and students vaccinated with both doses ahead of September, while investing an additional $2 billion to ensure students and staff are safe,” he added.

According to the release, the province’s plan “supports the largest investment in mental health and the largest summer learning program in Ontario history, with supports available to students through the summer and when they return to in-person learning in September.”

The release also noted that “recent modelling presented by the Science Advisory Table revealed that if Ontario reopened schools to in-person learning the province could see an increase of six to 11 per cent in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases.”

Child care for non-school aged children will stay open, which “includes child care offered in licensed child care centres, and in home-based settings,” the release specified.

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