It looks like schools in Ontario will not be reopening until the fall
Ontario parents, teachers and students are still anxiously awaiting the formal announcement from Premier Doug Ford about whether or not schools will be reopening along with the rest of the province in the coming weeks, but it seems that the province has already made its decision on the subject.
According to insider sources per CTV News, Ford and his team have opted to keep classrooms closed and continue on with virtual learning for all age groups in all regions of the province for the rest of the school year, with the potential to open up again come September.
Good. We have come so far, the risk isn’t worth it with such few remaining school days left. Let’s focus on getting all education staff and 12+ students fully vaccinated. Ford needs to take this time to make a true #SafeSeptember happen. https://t.co/QU2Y5xfWug— Norah Brien (@norahbrien) June 1, 2021
It was apparent that the government was quite divided on the topic, with Ford saying in a press conference on May 20 that various stakeholders have very differing — and very strong — thoughts on what would be the best course of action.
"[Chief Medical Officer of Health] Dr. Williams is in favour of opening the schools, but we have a few doctors on the science table that aren't in favour. Then we have the teachers that want to put an injunction in if we move forward," Ford said days before issuing a formal call to experts for their advice on what to do.
In an open letter to 55 individuals and organizations, Ford asked a number of questions to determine whether it would be possible to have students return to in-person learning before the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.
Modelling from the science table indicated that such a move could increase new case numbers in the province by up to 11 per cent, which it deemed manageable.
This is crazy yet you can have fans attend hockey games in person. You can have golf courses open and playgrounds open. What's the difference. At somepoint we will need to live a little. Open schools up and business up, yes you might see in increase in school cases.— Mark R (@MarkR41482679) June 1, 2021
Sources have told outlets such as the Star that the timing, which would coincide with select businesses reopning and other activities resuming, poses too great of a risk despite the proven benefits of in-person classes and obvious drawbacks of learning from home.
Schools across the province have been shuttered since mid-April, some since even earlier, soon after the emergency shutdown began. The ruling about when they will reopen is apparently still being finalized by Cabinet at this time.
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