Ontario Schools Are Not Going To Reopen This School Year After All
It seems like school's out for summer. The main update on the Ontario school year is that physical classes are not coming back. Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced on Tuesday, May 19, that the province is not going to risk trying to put students back in classrooms.
Students across the province have been at home since mid-March as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of society.
On Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford and Minister Lecce declared that they don't feel it's safe to get students back in schools right now.
Speaking in the province's daily press briefing, Ford said: "We cannot open schools at this time — I’m just not going to risk it. This was not an easy decision to make but the right decision."
Instead, they said, online learning from home will continue. Students will still get report cards, Ford noted.
The Premier also confirmed overnight camps will be closed for the summer. Day camps will go ahead but under strict health measures.
Lecce added that publicly-funded Ontario schools will reopen in September, but noted that "it's obvious schools will not look the same" when they do.
The Minister added the province will release a full framework regarding education by the end of June. For now, a release on the Ontario government website gives more information.
Initially, it was hoped they would be able to be back by early April, but that date has been repeatedly pushed back.
The last update, at the end of April, confirmed that schools would not be back en masse until at least May 29.
In the meantime, Ford and Lecce had already extended support to parents and students who are stuck out of class right now, including online programming and the distribution of iPads loaded with free data for e-learning.
And they had promised more clarity on schools this week as Ontario moves ahead with its gradual reopening.
Ford had also questioned Quebec Premier Francois Legault's decision to sanction the reopening of primary schools and daycares in mid-May.
Legault has since delayed that date for the Greater Montreal area after some considerable pushback.
Meanwhile, in higher education, the province's universities seem to have given up hope of in-person classes returning anytime soon.
Schools including the University of Ottawa and Ryerson University have already committed to moving classes online for the fall 2020 semester.
Though the province extended its state of emergency again until May 29 this morning, it was also suggested that an announcement about potentially raising the maximum cap for gatherings from five to 10 people should be expected this week.