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Ford Announces Ontario Will Keep Schools Closed After April Break, Will Transition To Remote Learning

Monday April 12th, 2021, 3:20pm


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The province of Ontario will be keeping schools closed following April Break and students will switch to remote learning.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Monday afternoon.

The province says the “difficult decision” was made to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning following consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health due to “the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions.”

“We are seeing a rapidly deteriorating situation with a record number of COVID cases and hospital admissions threatening to overwhelm our health care system,” said Ford. “As I have always said we will do whatever it takes to ensure everyone stays safe. By keeping kids home longer after spring break we will limit community transmission, take pressure off our hospitals and allow more time to rollout our COVID-19 vaccine plan.”

The province says schools have been “safe places for learning throughout the pandemic” and “have demonstrated low rates of in-school transmission.”

However, they say “increasing rates of community spread pose a threat to the health and safety of school communities.”

Ford said the problem lies with community spread.

“The problem is not in our schools, it is in our community,” he said. “Bringing our kids back into a congregate setting in schools after a week off in the community is a risk that I won’t take.”

The decision affects all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province and takes effect when students return from the April break on April 19th. They say private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15th.

The province says child care for non-school aged children will remain open, but before and after school programs will be closed. The province says they will be providing free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers.

They say boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.

The province has not set a date for the reopening of schools for in-person learning.

“We’ll keep a constant eye on the data, on case numbers, hospital capacity and ICU admissions to determine when we can get kids back in the classrooms,” said Ford. “I want nothing more than to be able to open the schools up again as soon as possible, but we all need to work together to get the community spread under control.”

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