Ontario schools to remain closed to in-person learning: Doug Ford

Brenda Watkins
June 2, 2021

Ontario is the only Canadian province with schools now closed to in-person learning. Classrooms in the province have been closed since mid-April due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

But Ford also said that the province could begin its planned three-step reopening plan sooner, if the chief medical officer gave his blessing.

On Monday, Ford said his government was reviewing responses to a letter sent last Thursday that solicited advice from a range of expert groups, including public health officials and teachers unions.

The Province has indicated, rather than having students return to in-person learning, the focus will be on having students and teachers vaccinated during the summer, in order to allow a more normal return in September.

"Here's what the experts couldn't say, they couldn't say whether returning to in class learning without more vaccinations would not add thousands of new COVID-19 cases", Ford said. And it's no secret that some of them said kids should be back in school on a regional basis for the last couple of weeks of school.

Ford said he is unwilling to take the risk of potential outbreaks of COVID-19 and its variants as a result of opening schools and is keeping all publically funded and private schools closed until September. "So today, I have to announce that schools will not be returning for in-class learning until the fall".

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But he blasted senior United Kingdom officials for failing to grasp the seriousness of the situation. Dominic Cummings leaves the Houses of Parliament in London , Britain, 26 May 2021.

For more information on the Roadmap to Reopen Ontario follow this link. "Youth aged 12 and over are now eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, as well as at select pharmacies administering the Pfizer vaccine", said the government.

Lecce, meanwhile, reiterated that schools are safe from COVID-19.

"We can't force anyone to get a vaccination".

"COVID-19 has taken a significant toll on everyone in Ontario", said Premier Ford.

CTV News Toronto reports that the decision on whether to leave Ontario classrooms closed for the remainder of the school year is partly based on public opinion polling, commissioned by the Progressive Conservative government, which pitted schools against the economy.

Ford said he understands kids will be losing out on valued experiences, so he's asked all school boards to allow for outdoor graduation ceremonies for all grade levels, not just students in grades 8 and 12. Licensed child care centres may resume serving school-aged children for full-days in programming over the summer months, in accordance with the Ministry of Education's health and safety guidance. It also suggested using the summer months to improve school buildings and vaccinate students.

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