Ontario extends school closures until January 25th

Ontario extends school closures until January 25th

Elementary schools in the southern part of the province (south of Sudbury) will remain closed until January 25, which is two weeks later than the original reopening date.

The Ontario government is expected to share details on whether or not students will be heading back to school for in-class learning next week.

Ontario reported a new high of 4,249 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. According to the province the positivity rate for COVID-19 in elementary school-aged children before Christmas was 5.44 per cent, and that that number has now jumped to 20 per cent.

"Educators know that in-person learning provides the most effective and equitable learning environment, but unfortunately, we are at the height of this pandemic".

Yukon is reporting one new COVID-19 case, bringing the territory's total to 66.

The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams says while earlier this fall the seven northern public health regions were in the green zone of the province's reopening plan, now community spread is worse.

Troster said the decision also forces parents to take time off work while they "take on the role of an unpaid educational assistant", which not everyone can afford to do.

"We are trying to get the right balance here where we have a deferral of the reopening for two weeks while we get these other things in place because we want the schools to be open and we want them to stay open", he said.

Education minister Stephen Lecce said "nothing more important" than getting students back to classrooms.

"During this time, students will remain engaged in live teacher-led online learning with access to enhanced mental health and technology supports".

Elementary schools had been scheduled to reopen for in-person classes on January 11, and most secondary schools were due back on January 25.

Ford says numbers need to start going down.

Ontario has been under a province-wide lockdown since December 26, which forces non-essential businesses to close and prohibits in-person dining at restaurants and bars.

From Jan. 9 to February 8, people in Quebec will have to stay home between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they work in essential businesses. "Rapid accumulation of cases will continue until we can make significant progress in interrupting spread".

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