Both students and parents are getting ready for the return of school on Monday, as classrooms in Ontario will remain empty for a little bit longer.

Virtual learning is set to begin again for the first days of 2021 classes, the same method that students used to finish out their classes before summer break.

Following in-person classes across the province for a stretch of roughly four months, the change comes in an effort to slow the spread of rising COVID-19 cases.

"I'm excited to stay home, but kind of disappointed because I don't get to see my friends," one student tells CTV News.

Elementary schools have moved to remote, virtual learning until Jan. 11, while high schoolers will not return to the classroom until Jan. 25.

"It's a little bit difficult for parents, but everyone is safe, so I'm happy with that one," one parent tells CTV News. "I think it's going to be longer than a week though."

Other parents also agree that, with the current state of COVID-19 cases in the province, the virtual learning will be extended for students.

In an open letter, education minister Stephen Lecce says schools are safe and that eight out of ten schools in Ontario are having no cases of COVID-19.

"It's important to remember that this basically relies on parents to be there to support their kid," said Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education. "Being able to continue engaging that way, that part is problematic and not sustainable for some families."