As schools remain closed across the province, students' most-anticipated events remain in limbo. However, despite the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, the Minister of Education says Ontario school graduations and prom ceremonies should still go on. Stephen Lecce says these events can be held "during the summer or fall, when it is safe to do so."
Lecce expressed his sympathies to students in a press release on Monday, stating that he was aware that the government's state of emergency was causing many to miss out on important student experiences.
"Students have worked incredibly hard this school year, and we know that the COVID-19 outbreak has forced some schools to cancel or delay important milestones to recognize student achievements, such as prom and graduation ceremonies," Lecce said.
However, the Minister of Education also warned the province's students that it could take a while for graduating traditions to return to normal.
"Although we are making great efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario, it may still be some time before schools and boards are able to offer the kinds of ceremonies and traditions in the same way they have in previous years," he added.
Lecce revealed in his statement that he has been in contact with many students and parents affected by the situation.
Through this, he believes that all students should be able to get their graduations, even if these ceremonies are extremely delayed.
Due to this, Leece is giving permission to boards to host these events during the summer and fall, if possible.
"Despite this uncertainty, I am encouraging boards to reschedule these events based on input from local medical officers of health. In some cases, this might mean facilitating graduation ceremonies and proms during the summer or fall when it is safe to do so," he concluded.
High schools initially shut their doors for two weeks after March Break, however, they have yet to reopen as the government lockdown continues to stay in place.
Several universities and colleges also followed suit, cancelling classes and moving their studies online during this time.
While the lockdown is expected to be extended into June, it is still unclear when schools will reopen.
A final decision on how the rest of the Ontario school year will run is expected to be announced this week.