Students in 13 Ontario regions are returning to in-class learning on Monday.
Last week, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Ontario schools are set to open across the province on February 8, except for schools in Toronto, Peel and York, which will open on February 16 after Family Day.
The GTA regions allowing schools to reopen are in Halton and Durham.
The decision was made based on advice from Williams and the unanimous recommendations of the Council of Medical Officers of Health.
Elementary and secondary schools in the following public health units return to class today:
- Brant County Health Unit
- Chatham-Kent Public Health
- Durham Region Health Department
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
- Halton Region Public Health
- City of Hamilton Public Health Services
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Lambton Public Health
- Niagara Region Public Health
- Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
- Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
“Following the best medical advice, with the clear support of both Ontario’s and the local Medical Officers of Health, we are reopening schools across the province knowing that we have taken additional steps and made additional investments to better protect our students and staff,” said Lecce at the time.
“Nothing is more important than returning kids to school safely because it is crucial for their development, mental health, and future success.”
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To follow the safe return of in-person learning, Ontario introduced new measures to continue to protect students and staff against COVID-19, which include:
- Province-wide access to targeted asymptomatic testing for students and staff
- Mandatory masking requirement for students in Grades 1-3, and making it a requirement for Grades 1-12 outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained
- Providing 3.5 million cloth masks to schools as a back-up supply for Grades 1-12
- Enhanced screening for secondary students and staff
- Guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school
- Temporary certification of eligible teacher candidates who are set to graduate in 2021 to stabilize staffing levels, following high levels of absenteeism
On Monday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford is expected to provide an announcement on the economic reopening plan for Ontario.