BREAKING: Schools to Stay Closed to In-Person Learning

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The provincial government has announced that schools in Ontario will not reopen for in-person learning until September.

Joined by Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Health Minister Christine Elliott, Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

“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. “Making this tough decision now will allow kids to safely enjoy camps and outdoor activities this summer, and a safe return to school in September.”

According to a release from the province, recent modelling presented by the Science Advisory Table revealed that if Ontario reopened schools to in-person learning the province could see an increase of six to 11 per cent in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases. It is unknown how many of these would be the new, more dangerous B.1.617.2 variant first identified in India, which has entered the province through Canada’s borders.

“While this decision was not made lightly, it has been done with one aim: protect the summer for families and deliver a stable and safe September for students,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We are looking forward and taking action by getting all education workers and students vaccinated with both doses ahead of September."

Premier Ford also spoke on Wednesday about vaccines, saying vaccines remain the best defence against COVID-19, adding, more than 9.36 million doses have been administered in Ontario and a plan to accelerate second doses has just been released.

Students in Ontario have been doing online learning since April 19.