ontario schools shut down

Doug Ford says Ontario schools will not reopen on May 4

Well, it's official: Nobody's going back to school in Ontario on May 4 as planned.

Premier Doug Ford confirmed the news during his daily COVID-19 press briefing Tuesday afternoon, making clear what many had already suspected after the province extended its state of emergency order yesterday for another four weeks.

With another 28 days of widespread business closures and social distancing measures in place, it's unlikely we'll see any sort of return to normalcy until at least May 11.

Students and teachers who were told they'd be heading back to class in early May (and, before that, on April 6) had been uncertain about what that means for them up until this afternoon, when Ford was asked to clarify the situation.

"School will not be going back on May the 4th and [Minister of Education Stephen Lecce] will be talking further on this in the next couple of days," said Ford.

"But just to confirm students, will not be going back on May the 4th. That does not mean the year is cancelled."

Parents are eagerly awaiting Lecce's next announcement as they try and prepare for the school year either drifting into summer, morphing entirely online or being cancelled outright, as experts predict.

"This back and forth serves no one: not teachers, not students, not families," wrote one Toronto parent of the news. "If school was cancelled, we could start preparing and planning our own educational activities and resources for the next few months and for next September. But no, we get this."

"So they'll go back for a week or so? A month? Might as well just be decisive and close right now," wrote another. "Give parents and teachers some much needed certainty so that all can come up with plans accordingly."

Ford did say shortly after declaring a state of emergency in March that his government would "be making sure that we give a proper time frame" for the reopening of schools, but also that "this is changing hour by hour, day by day."

Until an actual timeline is provided, students can make use of Ontario's newly-launched, comprehensive online learning program to keep their minds sharp (and their parents sane.)

Lead photo by

Patrick Younger


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