Ontario schools not returning to in-person learning this week

Jan 3 2022, 6:28 pm

As Ontario continues to deal with growing COVID-19 case counts, the provincial government is bringing in a number of new public health measures, including moving all public and private schools to remote learning.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the announcement during a Monday morning press conference, joined by Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, and CEO of Ontario Health Matt Anderson.

“Our plan demands that we implement additional health measures,” said Premier Ford. “It will mean the closure of more indoor spaces where we know this risk of Omicron transmission is higher. The immediate goal of these measures will be to blunt the wave.”

Starting January 5, all public and private schools in Ontario will move to online learning until at least January 17.

“Children will continue to receive live virtual learning during this period, led by their teacher, with full access to school-based academic and mental health supports,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.

“We will continue to work closely with the Chief Medical Officer of Health to keep our communities safe and ensure that Ontario students get back to in-person learning as soon as possible,” Minister Lecce added.

During this time, school buildings are allowed to remain open for child care operations, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely, and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.

While remote learning is in place, free emergency child care will be provided for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.

The move to remote learning comes just days after Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced during a press conference that students and staff would return to the classroom after the holiday break.

Originally, students were expected to go back to school on January 3, however, Dr. Moore gave a two-day extension so that schools and parents could prepare for the return.

Ontario reported 13,578 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. This follows 16,714 infections found on Sunday and a record-breaking 18,445 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. According to data tweeted by Minister Elliot, there are currently 1,232 people hospitalized with the virus, including 248 in intensive care.

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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