Earlier today, Premier Doug Ford announced that public and private schools across Ontario will remain closed for the rest of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One thing I will never do is take unnecessary risk when it comes to our children,” Ford said at Tuesday’s press conference. “We cannot open schools at this time. I’m just not going to risk it.”
The premier addressed the province alongside the Minister of Health Christine Elliot and the Minister of Education Stephen Lecce.
At-home learning will continue and the premier assured the public that all students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will receive their report cards.
Although overnight camps will remain closed, Ford had good news for summer day camps. As long as trends continue to improve, Ford said day camps will be allowed to open in July and August. However, they will do so with strict public health measures in place.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce noted that childcare centres will also have to remain closed for now.
“Following advice from the chief medical officer of health, licensed childcare centres, and EarlyON programs will also remain closed through stage one,” Lecce said. “Emergency childcare will continue for frontline workers during this period. Looking forward, we will gradually reopen childcare as part of stage two, once it is safe to do so.”
Furthermore, the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently in force until May 29, 2020. According to a recent press release, bars and restaurants will remain closed until that time, except for takeout and delivery. Restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people will remain in place. Staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes will also continue. In the meantime, the government is also allowing drive-in religious gatherings.
Starting Tuesday, the province has officially entered the first stage of its Framework for Reopening the Province. As part of this initial stage, the government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas.