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Ford Says Schools Can Host In-Person Graduations & Other Outdoor Events This Year

Ford wants all grades to celebrate graduating this year!

The Ontario government announced on Wednesday that it would allow schools to host outdoor graduations and other events this year, despite not reopening in-person learning until the fall.

Premier Doug Ford argued that the plan would allow students to get outdoors to enjoy the summer weather together while still gathering safely.

"We will be working with school boards and health officials to make sure we can have outdoor graduation ceremonies for all students and all grades this summer rather than just grade 8 and 12," Ford said during the update.

"School boards can create the in-person graduation ceremonies to honour the achievement of students graduating. From kindergarten, all the way to grade 12," Stephen Lecce, minister of education, added.

"With the stay-at-home order now lifting today as we approach step one of the roadmap to reopening, school boards can create safe outdoor graduation ceremonies working with their local medical officers of health."

Ford also noted that he will be working to open day camps, sports and other activities "as soon as possible."

Schools will remain closed this year

While Ford is encouraging students to take part in outdoor activities, in-person learning will remain closed until September. Instead, students will continue to learn online.

In a press release, the government revealed the decision was made to protect families and students from the growing B.1.617.2 variant.

"At a time when our top priority is putting the third wave behind us so that we can safely enter Step One of our Roadmap to Reopen, we can't risk increased cases and potential downstream impacts on hospitals and ICUs," said Premier Ford.

Currently, the province is expecting to enter step one of the reopening plan by mid-June. Yet, Ford is "so hopeful" that it could happen before then.