ONTARIO – Ontario students will not return to in-class learning this academic year. On Wednesday, June 2, Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the announcement that in-class learning would not resume until September. Students have been restricted to remote learning since Spring Break in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ford had solicited the opinions of education and health experts over the course of the previous week, and he acknowledged that some experts had recommended a return to the classroom.
“Here’s what the experts couldn’t say, they couldn’t tell us that returning of in class learning before more students and teachers are vaccinated wouldn’t lead to thousands and thousands of new cases,” Ford said. “The experts couldn’t tell us that it wouldn’t risk spreading other variants. These aren’t risks I’m willing to take so today I have to announce that students won’t be returning to in class until the fall.”
Ford said that a return to the classroom would put kids at risk and that was not a risk he was willing to take.
“The one constant in this pandemic is that we have always erred on the side of caution,” said Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “By remaining cautious and vigilant we protect our summer, we protect September.”
Instead of in class learning, Ford said his government would instead focus on making sure that summer camps can open and encouraged all schools to hold in person outdoor graduation ceremonies for all students before the end of the school year.
On Tuesday, the Ford Government announced that it would be investing $31 million in children and youth mental health services to reduce waiting lists.
Premier Ford also raised the possibility of enacting his provincial re-opening plan prior to June 14 when the province is scheduled to enter Phase 1 of the re-opening plan.
As of Wednesday, the province had administered 9.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.