TDSB closing all of its schools in Toronto starting tomorrow
Schools in Toronto are once again closing for in-person learning as the region and the rest of Ontario wades through the first few days of the new provincial shutdown enacted on Saturday.
Students and teachers will transition back to virtual classes starting on Wednesday, with the City of Toronto stating this afternoon that "difficult decisions must be taken locally to protect all those in our school communities."
Dr. @epdevilla, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, is issuing a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, that requires all elementary and secondary school students to transition to online/remote learning effective Wednesday, April 7 at 12:01 a.m.— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) April 6, 2021
The abrupt move indicates how seriously health officials are taking accelerated transmission and new variants of concern, given that Premier Doug Ford has said time and time again that keeping schools open is of the utmost important to students' education, socialization and mental health.
"We're doing everything we can to keep our kids in class, this is a top priority," Ford reiterated in the press conference on April 1 in which he announced the emergency shutdown of all regions of the province.
"We have made historic investments and introduced the strongest school safety plan in the country. But as always, we will closely monitor the situation and not hesitate to act to protect our kids and your families."
The medical officers of health for each public health region have the power to make such decisions, as Peel's Dr. Lawrence Loh did earlier this week when he shuttered schools in the district until April 18 at the earliest.
He called it " a necessary step" to break chains of transmission in settings that can be conducive to virus spread, and it's one that residents seem to support given that many have been wondering why learning centres have remained open while so many businesses have been forced to close.
Now, Toronto's Dr. Eileen de Villa has made the same choice, as has her counterpart in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, where schools will also close tomorrow.
In-person learning is currently slated to resume in the city on April 19.
Given the evidence, @TOPublicHealth appreciates the value of in-person learning, and firmly believes that schools should be the first places in our community to open, and the last to close.— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) April 6, 2021
It was less than two months ago that Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce assured the public that schools were safe and ready to reopen with firm measures in place, which they did in early February.
The province then delayed March Break to this month for fear that having so many students out of class at once would encourage non-essential travel and pose other health and safety risks.
A press release from the City of Toronto states that though officials "appreciate that this decision places an additional burden on many including students, staff and families," the action is "in an effort to keep our communities safe and prevent further spread of COVID-19."
Unfortunately for working parents, licensed childcare centres will not be allowed to take in any students affected by the school closures.
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