Published: Wed, June 02, 2021

Ontario to keep schools closed for in-person learning until autumn

Ontario to keep schools closed for in-person learning until autumn

Schools are expected to return to in-person learning in September for the 2021-22 school year.

The COVID-19 vaccines will not be made mandatory for students or teachers to return to the classroom.

The comfort of a nice and refreshing meal either indoor or outdoor is still restricted until at least June 14.

Weddings, funerals and other religious services can have a maximum of ten people, and most indoor and outdoor recreational facilities will remain closed until the first stage starts as well.

This is Ontario's second Stay-at-Home order, and it was put in place on April 7 in response to rapidly rising COVID-19 infections during the third wave.

According to Ford, many public health experts who responded said they approved of a regional approach to reopening schools.

In it, Ford wrote "no one wants to see our schools reopen safely more than I do", adding that while his government understands the benefits of having kids return to class, it can only be done based on "sound scientific advice, consensus and considers potential or future risks faced by students and staff".

Despite pressure from public health officials, the Ford Government has made the decision to keep students out of the classroom until next September.

So what happens between the end of the stay-at-home order and the beginning of Ontario's reopening plan? "Youth aged 12 and over are now eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, as well as at select pharmacies administering the Pfizer vaccine", said the government.

"The experts couldn't tell us that returning to in-class learning before more teachers and students are vaccinated won't lead to thousands and thousands of new cases", said Ford. In addition, the province is encouraging eligible family members who have not received a vaccine to attend these clinics to get youth and their families vaccinated as quickly as possible.

"We are looking forward and taking action by getting all education workers and students vaccinated with both doses ahead of September, while investing an additional $2 billion to ensure students and staff are safe".

Students have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic, with important milestones like graduation ceremonies impacted.

There are roughly three weeks left in the current school year. Before and after school programs are closed and licensed child care centres may resume serving school-aged children for full-day programming in the summer.

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