Put those back-to-school plans on hold. Premier Doug Ford has officially announced on March 23 that Ontario school closures will remain in force beyond the anticipated date of April 5. Classes were cancelled for two weeks after March Break but provincial students won't be heading back to class anytime soon.
Ford announced in his press conference on Monday, March 23 that education will not be able to resume as normal for quite some time.
The Premier admitted he believes the current timeline isn't secure enough for students to head back into class.
"Do I believe and does the minister believe that April 6 the kids will be going back to school? The kids won't be going back to school on April 6," said Ford while speaking to reporters.
Ford had announced back on March 12 that Ontario schools would be closed from March 14 to April 5, extending for two more weeks after March Break in order to combat the spread of the virus.
According to CTV News, as cases have rapidly increased across the province, the initial goal of getting kids back in class on April 5 has been deemed entirely unrealistic.
As of March 23, positive COVID-19 cases in Ontario have almost doubled across the past four days.
The province has now reported over 500 cases in total.
Ford's tone when discussing COVID-19 has shifted quite a bit in recent times.
Just this month, he had encouraged Ontarians to travel on March Break as they should "go away and have a good time."
Later that same day, Ford had announced the closures of all publicly funded Ontario schools, which included both elementary and high schools.
According to CTV News, the government had originally said that any decision made to close schools beyond April 6 would be due to the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams.
At the moment, it is still unclear as to whether or not students will finish the school year in class or online.
Earlier on Monday, Ford ordered the closure of all "non-essential" businesses and services in the province by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.