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Ontario Just Announced Returning To School In The Fall Will Be Voluntary

Ford said school boards must plan for 3 different scenarios.

Ontario's school students now know more about their return to class. Except, not really. Provincial staff gave their daily briefing on June 19 and outlined that Ontario's back-to-school plan is actually three different "safety" plans right now, but the headline is that no student will be forced back into class.

Premier Doug Ford said at the briefing that the province has three working plans for a return to class and that there is "no blanket solution."

"The options will include regular in-class learning with health protocols in place, at-home learning, or a mix of both with in-class sessions capped at 15 students and students attending on alternate days or weeks," said Ford.

He added that the government will hold discussions with the province's school boards this summer to develop plans that work for each region.

A government page about the plan echoed Ford's additional statement that parents will not have to send their kids back to class if they don't want to.

"The return to school in the fall of 2020-21 will be voluntary and based on parent choice," reads the page. "For parents who choose not to send their child back to school, school boards should be prepared to offer remote education. 

"This requirement will be in place for as long as public health circumstances require adapted delivery of education."

More details about the plan are available on that page.

"We will be ready for every scenario," added Lecce.

Lecce and Ford had announced a month ago, on May 19, that schools would not be reopening in the province and that e-learning would instead continue.

At that time, Lecce said publicly-funded institutions would reopen in September but that "it's obvious schools will not look the same" when they do.

That came just a few weeks after Ford had questioned Quebec's decision to reopen schools in late April. Ontario's neighbour province began opening its doors again to students last month.

Meanwhile, when it comes to post-secondary education, Ontario said last week that "essential" university and college students will be able to return to in-person classes in July to complete their studies.

Those students include nurses, personal support workers, engineers, and other critical professions.

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