Waterloo Region students not going back to classroom next week

Students in Waterloo Region won't return to the classroom next week.

On Wednesday afternoon, the provincial government released a list of regions and school boards that would resume in-person learning on Jan. 25.

Neither Region of Waterloo or Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph were included in that list.

The province didn't provide a proposed date for when students in those regions would be back in the classroom.

Medical Officer of Health Dr, Hsiu-Li Wang said additional safety measures will be in place when schools do allow students back.

"That is including masking for Grade 1 to 3, which we were already doing in the region with our two largest boards, and requirements for mask wearing outdoors, enhanced screening protocols and expanded target testing," she said.

In an update on its website, the Waterloo Region District School Board said distance learning would continue "until further direction from the Ministry of Education."

The school board said it will provide any updates when they become available.

Prior to the province's announcement, WDG Public Health Dr. Nicola Mercer Medical Officer of Health said students in that health unit would continue online learning until at least Feb. 1.

“I know everyone wants schools open for in-person learning as soon as it is safe,” Dr. Mercer said in a news release. “Teachers and parents are keenly aware of the value our children get from being able to gather together with their teachers and classmates and the pressure that remote learning places on educators and families. I share these sentiments.”

Dr. Mercer acknowledged that cases are declining in the region, but they said they "are simply not there yet."

Students in Toronto, Peel, York, Windsor-Essex and Hamilton will not be returning to the classroom until at least Feb. 10.