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Ontario won’t reopen schools for in-person learning this spring, Ford announces

Posted in Canada, Featured

Published on June 02, 2021 with No Comments

  • Announcement taking place at 1 p.m. at Queen’s Park.

Ontario students won’t return to in-class learning before September, Premier Doug Ford announced at a news conference Wednesday.

“It was a hard choice to make,” Ford said.

“I don’t want to risk the health of our kids and cutting off their summer.”

On Monday, Ford said his government was reviewing responses to a letter sent last Thursday that solicited advice from a range of expert groups, including public health officials and teachers unions.

On Wednesday, Ford said some experts believed students should be back in class, but that they could not promise that students being back in person wouldn’t lead to thousands of new COVID-19 cases, especially when variants of concern are considered.

Ford said he wouldn’t risk spreading those variants.

“By remaining cautious and vigilant, we protect our summer. We protect September,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said.

Most students in Ontario have been learning remotely since April 19 due to soaring rates of COVID-19 amid the third wave of the pandemic.

Ford said the province is pushing for a “safe and normal” return to school in September. “We’ll use this time to get our teachers and students vaccinated,” the premier said, adding the province will also be making upgrades to air systems in schools.

The province is also working with school boards on organizing in-person, outdoor graduation ceremonies for all grades, Ford said.

“We can do this safely by sticking with our reopening plan,” Ford said.

When asked if COVID-19 vaccinations would be mandatory in schools for the upcoming school year, Ford said that he doesn’t believe people should be forced to take them.

“We can’t force anyone to go get a vaccination. We encourage them,” Ford said, adding that they absolutely work.

 

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