BREAKING: Ontario schools will not reopen this school year due to COVID-19

Though the news likely comes as no surprise to students, parents, and educators, Premier Doug Ford announced on Tuesday afternoon that Ontario’s public schools will stay closed for the remainder of the school year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

An extension of the Ford government’s state of emergency and mass closures of most businesses and institutions, the province’s elementary and secondary schools have been shuttered since March Break, leaving staff and students to rapidly adjust to strained models of virtual learning at home.

With new reopening dates getting pushed farther and farther along into the school year, and the rapidly developing information about COVID-19 making it clear that schools won’t be able to reopen as usual for a longer time than expected, this announcement was pretty much inevitable.

“The safety of our children is my top priority,” said Ford at this afternoon’s public address. “We cannot open schools at this time. I’m just not going to risk it.”

For the time being, the online learning established for students to complete at home will continue, and all students who were on track to graduate this school year will still do so and receive their diplomas.

Though the situation could still change, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce also announced that the government is working on a plan to reopen schools for the new school year this coming September.

The details of this plan are set to be released by the end of June, and will likely involve modifications to the traditional models in place with more mindfulness to sanitation, class size management, and social distancing protocols.

“We will have to reimagine education in some respects in September given that there will have to be some protocol changes,” explained Lecce.

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