All Ontario public schools will remain closed until at least June 2.
While announcing the extension of the Stay-at-Home order on May 13, Premier Doug Ford revealed that students would not be returning to the classroom for the foreseeable future.
“On the one hand, we have some doctors saying they want to open the schools. On the other hand we have the teacher’s unions saying we can’t do that right now,” Ford said.
“We need public health doctors, teachers, and labour partners to agree on the best path forward. We also need consensus, and we simply don’t have that right now. So for the time being, we will need to continue with virtual learning.”
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Schools have been closed across Ontario since mid-April.
The premier did not provide an anticipated return date but said that the government would use the extended time off to vaccinate “as many teachers and students as possible.”
Starting the week of May 31, youth between the ages of 12 and 17, as well as their family members, will be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
The province said it will work with public health units to fully immunize adolescents by the end of August so that in-class learning can resume in the fall.
“Expanding vaccines to youth 12 and up will bring us one step closer to normalcy for our students,” said Stephen Lecce, the Minister of Education.
Education workers are currently able to be immunized under the province’s phased COVID-19 vaccine rollout program.
To date, Ontario has seen 499,412 COVID-19 cases and 8,374 deaths.