Burlington, Oakville, Milton students will be learning from home for the foreseeable future
Burlington, Oakville and Milton students will be learning from home for the foreseeable future as Premier Doug Ford says it is too dangerous for Ontario kids to return to the classroom.
The premier announced this afternoon that once the spring break ends, Halton Region classrooms will again return to the virtual realm. He said the move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions.
“We are seeing a rapidly deteriorating situation with a record number of COVID cases and hospital admissions threatening to overwhelm our health care system,” said Premier Ford. “As I have always said we will do whatever it takes to ensure everyone stays safe. By keeping kids home longer after spring break we will limit community transmission, take pressure off our hospitals and allow more time to rollout our COVID-19 vaccine plan.”
As part of the measures, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the spring break on April 19, 2021. Private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15, 2021. Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and health officials will be consulted to determine when it will be safe to resume in-person learning.
Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided. To protect the most vulnerable, boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.
“This was not a decision we made lightly, as we know how critical schools are to Ontario students. Our priority has always been to keep schools open, however sharply rising community transmission can put our schools and Ontario families at risk,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “While Ontario’s plan has kept schools safe, as confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we are taking decisive and preventative action today to ensure students can safely return to learning in our schools.”
With students moving to remote learning, vaccine prioritization of education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province, and all education workers in select hot spot areas, starting with Peel and Toronto, will continue.
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