Classes will remain online until the COVID-19 situation improves.
Elementary school students in Southern Ontario won’t be returning to in-person classrooms for at least another two weeks, as per the Government of Ontario’s announcement on Thursday, January 7 of the online teacher-led learning format being extended to January 25, 2021. The previous plan was for students to return to in-person education on January 11th. However, this extension is deemed necessary by provincial health officials since COVID-19 case numbers have continued to surge across the region. As a result, both elementary and secondary students in Ottawa will have to continue to attend classes remotely for the time being.
In addition to the extension of virtual learning for elementary students in Southern Ontario, Northern Ontario’s lockdown will be extended by two weeks, aligning with the lockdown dates already imposed upon Southern Ontario.
According to the provincial government, the positivity rate for kids aged 12-13 years old increased from 5.44% in late November/early December to nearly 20% in early January. These measures are therefore being taken to minimize further transmission of the COVID-19 virus, reduce hospitalization rates, and keep students and staff safe.
To support families during the extended school closure, child care centres and home-based child care services will still be able to operate. Additionally, the province is offering between $200–$250 worth of financial support per child or youth to families during the temporary remote learning period through the Support for Learners program — the application deadline for this is February 8, 2021.
“With the public health trends where they are across the province, our priority remains keeping students, teachers, school staff, and all Ontarians safe,” said Premier Ford. “That’s why we’re extending the remote learning period for students in Southern Ontario and the shutdown period for Northern Ontario, while continuing to provide financial relief for parents through the Support for Learners program as well as electricity rate relief for all time-of-use customers. We have to get the numbers down and today’s measures will help us continue to stop the spread of this deadly virus.”
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to monitor the situation and recommend further adjustments accordingly to protect the health of Ontarians.
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