Remote learning will continue to finish off the 2020-2021 school year for both elementary and secondary school students.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says modelling shows returning students to their classrooms this month could lead to thousands of new COVID-19 cases each day; a risk Ford isn’t willing to take.
“Schools will not be returning to in-class learning until the fall. I know this is very difficult news. It was a hard choice to make. But I will not take unnecessary risks with our children. We are fighting a third wave driven by COVID-19 variants.”
“At a time when our top priority is putting the third wave behind us so that we can safely enter Step One of our Roadmap to Reopen, we can’t risk increased cases and potential downstream impacts on hospitals and ICUs," added Ford.
In northwestern Ontario, school years are set to end by June 25 for the Kenora Catholic and Keewatin-Patricia District School Boards. Ford says schools are hoping to be able to host in-person, outdoor graduation ceremonies for all grades.
“While this decision was not made lightly, it has been done with one aim: protect the summer for families and deliver a stable and safe September for students,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.
“We are looking forward and taking action by getting all education workers and students vaccinated with both doses ahead of September, while investing an additional $2 billion to ensure students and staff are safe," added Lecce.
Ford adds Ontario is aiming to vaccinate all youth between the ages of 12 and 17 before the end of August, ahead of the 2021-2022 school year.
Ford also spoke about the tragedy discovered in Kamloops, BC last week, and reaffirmed his commitment to search remaining residential school sites.
June is National Indigenous History Month. June 21 is National Indigenous Solidarity Day.