Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the province is cancelling in-person learning for the school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The province said in a news release that the decision was made after consultation with the chief medical officer of health and an assortment of medical experts.
Ford told reporters that learning will continue online. The province said in its news release that all students “who were on track to graduate” from high school before schools were shuttered in March will be able to graduate, and all students will receive report cards.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said a full plan for reopening the province’s school schools in September will be released by the end of June. He indicated the plan will include measures to ensure physical distancing and to restrict the movement of students at school.
The province also announced its plan will be “bolstered by an enhanced province-wide virtual learning program that will allow all students to learn, regardless of the challenges that may transpire in the coming months,” according to a news release.
The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association said in a statement issued Tuesday that school boards appreciate the direction being offered by public health officials.
According to the provincial news release, private schools, licensed child-care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed through the first phase of the province’s reopening plan, which started today.
Ford also said Tuesday the province’s overnight camps would remain closed.
Students in Ontario have been out of class since mid-March as the province tries to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The province launched an online learning portal several weeks later, and teachers have been trying to continue lessons in various ways.