Ontario schools will remain closed until the end of June

News May 19, 2020 by Kristin Rushowy Toronto Star

Classes are cancelled for the rest of the school year for Ontario’s two million students.

Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce made the announcement on Tuesday, saying the shutdown — which began after the March Break — will continue until the end of June, leaving students to learn from home for the remainder of this school year.

“We cannot open schools at this time — I’m just not going to risk it,” said Premier Doug Ford.

“This was not an easy decision to make but the right decision.”

The premier also said that overnight summer camps are cancelled, but if trends continue then day camps could go ahead with stringent safety measures.

By cancelling the school year, Ontario joins provinces like Alberta, which have also said no to classes resuming because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In Quebec, some children have already returned on a voluntary basis and in B.C. they can go back part-time starting June 1, with strict cleaning and hygiene routines, as well as social distancing measures in place.

Other countries have also slowly resumed classes, although a week after reopening, France has just reported an outbreak of school-related coronavirus cases.

Lecce had been in touch with his counterparts in other provinces in recent days as the government debated how to handle the last few weeks of school.

The government is still talking to boards and unions about how to safely resume classes in the fall and how to boost summer school.

More online learning as well as pilot projects that could see students in areas with low coronavirus cases return to school in July or August are also under consideration, and have come up in discussions with principals, directors of education and union groups as the province grapples with how to handle the pandemic over the long term, according to insiders with knowledge of the discussions.

Ontario students have been out of class since mid-March.

New Democrat education critic Marit Stiles has said no matter what the government plans, “the No. 1 priority must be to keep our children healthy, and ensure we aren’t risking more lives.”

She said “parents and staff are telling me they are worried that government will move too quickly and not take the steps necessary to keep everyone safe — like providing extra support for students with special needs, mental health support for students dealing with trauma, or even taking the time to properly train education workers on infection control.”

The Ford government, she added, doesn’t have “a great track record of working collaboratively with the front-line workers and that worries me. From custodians to educational assistants to teachers and principals, these are our experts. They’ll be able to anticipate issues before they arise.”

As jurisdictions around the world begin to ease up on restrictions, attendance has been voluntary and schools have implemented more stringent and frequent cleaning protocols, as well as regular handwashing and use of hand sanitizer among children. Some countries require face masks and take temperatures as students arrive. Classes have remained small, with desks two metres apart and kids forced to maintain physical distancing during lunch and recess.

In some cases, students attend for half-days or on alternate days only. In British Columbia, younger students — up to Grade 5 — will attend halftime, with older students in school one day a week.

The province’s associate medical officer of health has previously said that when school does restart, students and staff could be screened for illness, and those who are sick will not be allowed in the building.

In the U.S., a coalition of 16 states has created its own education recovery task force to consider what schools will look like once they can safely reopen their doors, and say their focus is not only on academics but also student mental health and well-being.

That task force has also considered keeping students with the same elementary teacher in the fall to give them a level of comfort and support.

Ontario schools will remain closed until the end of June

News May 19, 2020 by Kristin Rushowy Toronto Star

Classes are cancelled for the rest of the school year for Ontario’s two million students.

Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce made the announcement on Tuesday, saying the shutdown — which began after the March Break — will continue until the end of June, leaving students to learn from home for the remainder of this school year.

“We cannot open schools at this time — I’m just not going to risk it,” said Premier Doug Ford.

“This was not an easy decision to make but the right decision.”

Related Content

The premier also said that overnight summer camps are cancelled, but if trends continue then day camps could go ahead with stringent safety measures.

By cancelling the school year, Ontario joins provinces like Alberta, which have also said no to classes resuming because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In Quebec, some children have already returned on a voluntary basis and in B.C. they can go back part-time starting June 1, with strict cleaning and hygiene routines, as well as social distancing measures in place.

Other countries have also slowly resumed classes, although a week after reopening, France has just reported an outbreak of school-related coronavirus cases.

Lecce had been in touch with his counterparts in other provinces in recent days as the government debated how to handle the last few weeks of school.

The government is still talking to boards and unions about how to safely resume classes in the fall and how to boost summer school.

More online learning as well as pilot projects that could see students in areas with low coronavirus cases return to school in July or August are also under consideration, and have come up in discussions with principals, directors of education and union groups as the province grapples with how to handle the pandemic over the long term, according to insiders with knowledge of the discussions.

Ontario students have been out of class since mid-March.

New Democrat education critic Marit Stiles has said no matter what the government plans, “the No. 1 priority must be to keep our children healthy, and ensure we aren’t risking more lives.”

She said “parents and staff are telling me they are worried that government will move too quickly and not take the steps necessary to keep everyone safe — like providing extra support for students with special needs, mental health support for students dealing with trauma, or even taking the time to properly train education workers on infection control.”

The Ford government, she added, doesn’t have “a great track record of working collaboratively with the front-line workers and that worries me. From custodians to educational assistants to teachers and principals, these are our experts. They’ll be able to anticipate issues before they arise.”

As jurisdictions around the world begin to ease up on restrictions, attendance has been voluntary and schools have implemented more stringent and frequent cleaning protocols, as well as regular handwashing and use of hand sanitizer among children. Some countries require face masks and take temperatures as students arrive. Classes have remained small, with desks two metres apart and kids forced to maintain physical distancing during lunch and recess.

In some cases, students attend for half-days or on alternate days only. In British Columbia, younger students — up to Grade 5 — will attend halftime, with older students in school one day a week.

The province’s associate medical officer of health has previously said that when school does restart, students and staff could be screened for illness, and those who are sick will not be allowed in the building.

In the U.S., a coalition of 16 states has created its own education recovery task force to consider what schools will look like once they can safely reopen their doors, and say their focus is not only on academics but also student mental health and well-being.

That task force has also considered keeping students with the same elementary teacher in the fall to give them a level of comfort and support.

Ontario schools will remain closed until the end of June

News May 19, 2020 by Kristin Rushowy Toronto Star

Classes are cancelled for the rest of the school year for Ontario’s two million students.

Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce made the announcement on Tuesday, saying the shutdown — which began after the March Break — will continue until the end of June, leaving students to learn from home for the remainder of this school year.

“We cannot open schools at this time — I’m just not going to risk it,” said Premier Doug Ford.

“This was not an easy decision to make but the right decision.”

Related Content

The premier also said that overnight summer camps are cancelled, but if trends continue then day camps could go ahead with stringent safety measures.

By cancelling the school year, Ontario joins provinces like Alberta, which have also said no to classes resuming because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In Quebec, some children have already returned on a voluntary basis and in B.C. they can go back part-time starting June 1, with strict cleaning and hygiene routines, as well as social distancing measures in place.

Other countries have also slowly resumed classes, although a week after reopening, France has just reported an outbreak of school-related coronavirus cases.

Lecce had been in touch with his counterparts in other provinces in recent days as the government debated how to handle the last few weeks of school.

The government is still talking to boards and unions about how to safely resume classes in the fall and how to boost summer school.

More online learning as well as pilot projects that could see students in areas with low coronavirus cases return to school in July or August are also under consideration, and have come up in discussions with principals, directors of education and union groups as the province grapples with how to handle the pandemic over the long term, according to insiders with knowledge of the discussions.

Ontario students have been out of class since mid-March.

New Democrat education critic Marit Stiles has said no matter what the government plans, “the No. 1 priority must be to keep our children healthy, and ensure we aren’t risking more lives.”

She said “parents and staff are telling me they are worried that government will move too quickly and not take the steps necessary to keep everyone safe — like providing extra support for students with special needs, mental health support for students dealing with trauma, or even taking the time to properly train education workers on infection control.”

The Ford government, she added, doesn’t have “a great track record of working collaboratively with the front-line workers and that worries me. From custodians to educational assistants to teachers and principals, these are our experts. They’ll be able to anticipate issues before they arise.”

As jurisdictions around the world begin to ease up on restrictions, attendance has been voluntary and schools have implemented more stringent and frequent cleaning protocols, as well as regular handwashing and use of hand sanitizer among children. Some countries require face masks and take temperatures as students arrive. Classes have remained small, with desks two metres apart and kids forced to maintain physical distancing during lunch and recess.

In some cases, students attend for half-days or on alternate days only. In British Columbia, younger students — up to Grade 5 — will attend halftime, with older students in school one day a week.

The province’s associate medical officer of health has previously said that when school does restart, students and staff could be screened for illness, and those who are sick will not be allowed in the building.

In the U.S., a coalition of 16 states has created its own education recovery task force to consider what schools will look like once they can safely reopen their doors, and say their focus is not only on academics but also student mental health and well-being.

That task force has also considered keeping students with the same elementary teacher in the fall to give them a level of comfort and support.