TORONTO — Ontario students will not return to the classroom this school year, Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday.
“I’m just not going to risk it,” Ford said.
The provincial government is planning to reopen schools for the 2020-2021 school year, gradually reopen child care and let summer day camps operate, according to a press release. Child-care centres will open when Ontario reaches “Stage 2” of its reopening plan in approximately two to four weeks.
Grade 12 students who were on track to graduate will still graduate, the release said. And report cards will be sent home for students of all ages.
Overnight camps won’t open
“Overnight camps will remain closed,” Ford also said during his Toronto press conference Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, you cannot have camps with 500 kids living together right now. I know this will be tough for many kids who look forward to their overnight camps.”
In July and August, day camps will be allowed to open with “strict public health measures in place,” as long as the spread of COVID-19 stays under control, he said.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government will also scale up its summer learning program.
Students can voluntarily take summer courses, which will be offered “both in class and virtually,” Lecce said.
Before the end of this school year, the government will announce its plan for how schools can safely reopen in September, Lecce said.
“I know this will feel different and I know it is not easy on you.”
“To students of this province, I know this will feel different and I know it is not easy on you,” the minister said.
“But I have every confidence, we have every confidence in you, in your energy and your determination and the spirit of this province best embraced by the sons and daughters of Ontario, our next generation.”
The government previously said that school would be cancelled until at least May 31.
Schools haven’t been in session since March 13, when there were just 59 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.
As of Tuesday morning, the province had 23,384 cases of the disease and 1,919 had died of it.