Ontario is keeping all schools in the province closed for in-person learning following the current school break, Ontario Premier Doug Ford says.
This move comes one day after Education Minister Stephen Lecce appeared to be standing firm on his plan to have in-person learning resume next week.
In a letter issued to parents on Sunday, Lecce wrote all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools will be open for in-person learning despite the province’s stay-at-home order.
Lecce also stood up in the legislature Monday and continued to contend schools are safe but noted rising case counts were a concern. He also said he was working with the chief medical officer of health to keep families across Ontario safe.
NEW – Education Minister Lecce continues to contend schools are safe but says that rising case counts are a concern to everyone and that the government is working with the chief medical officer of health to keep family safe. pic.twitter.com/19FaEK4uiu
— Richard Southern (@richard680news) April 12, 2021
Students across Ontario began April break on Monday after the regular scheduled March Break was pushed back as COVID-19 cases began to climb.
The province reported a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent on Monday, up from 7.7 per cent a day ago and 7.8 percent last week. It is the second-highest positivity rate the province has recorded since the start of the pandemic.
There was a rate of 9.7 per cent on Dec. 29 and Jan. 4 during the peak of the second wave.
Last week, Lecce said that enhanced safety measures would be put in place to protect students and staff once they were supposed to return from the April break.
“We’re going to be encouraging outdoor education. More outdoor learning where it is possible this Spring and Summer. We know it has helped us in the Fall,” said Lecce at the time.
“We’re going to be strongly urging as much education, experiential outside in our parks, in our playgrounds to make this learning experience possible but safe.”
Ford made the announcement during a press conference on Monday.