The Ontario government has said that all school boards province-wide will be required to offer the option of remote learning for students through the entire 2021-2022 school year.
Education minister Stephen Lecce made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon as a response to the continued uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it will continue to impact schools; even as vaccine rollout continues province-wide.
Ontario’s $1.6B plan will ensure students can learn safely this September, in-class & online.
For the 2021-22 school year, we are making the largest investment in public education in ON history, with a focus on mental health, reading, and math supports.https://t.co/QTnHQjGkeN pic.twitter.com/YEtD63MYw4
— Stephen Lecce (@Sflecce) May 5, 2021
This does not mean remote learning will be mandatory for the 2021-2022 school year; rather, it will allow students to opt into remote learning for their classwork if they prefer it to participating via in-person learning.
“We’ve committed ourselves to consulting on providing that choice beyond this year,” said Minister Lecce in a news conference on Tuesday.
“What we heard in the consultation absolutely clearly is that parents want that choice for this September because we are unsure of where this pandemic will take us.”
What’s unclear, however, is how many students will ultimately opt for a shift to full-time remote learning come September.
Schools are currently closed for in-person classes entirely as part of Ontario’s state of emergency, with all classes being conducted virtually until further notice.
The provincial government has not given an indication of when, or if, students will return to in-person learning for any portion of the remaining school year.
The news comes as the Ford government also announces its $2 billion plan to keep schools safe and support learning recovery and renewal.
Read more on the Ontario website.