The Quebec provincial government is considering extending winter break for schools as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. To date, more than 1,100 classrooms in Quebec have been shut down due to COVID-19, officials noted at a press conference on Thursday.
Students and staff typically enjoy two weeks off in the winter, usually beginning around Christmas and ending in the New Year. A temporary shutdown in Quebec could come as an extended winter break, but, the academic year could possibly be extended into July as a result.
— Montreal Gazette (@mtlgazette) November 12, 2020
Premier François Legault confirmed that officials are looking at the possibility of closing schools for a limited period of time — but as a “last solution.”
“Children have already lost many days of school last spring. But we have to consider all of our options to break the wave,” Legault told reporters on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in Ontario, about 13 per cent of schools have reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 (670 out of 4,828 schools) with one school (0.02 per cent) currently closed as a result.
In a statement provided to CP24 on Thursday, a spokesperson for the province’s Ministry of Education said that it is currently not considering modifications to the school year calendar for 2020 — but is instead focusing its efforts “on doing everything we can to keep students and educators safe, while keeping schools open and students learning in person.”
Still, Tony Pontes, executive director of the Council of Ontario Directors of Education, said on Thursday that his organization spoke with the Ministry of Education about extending the winter break, according to the Globe and Mail.
“It’s only discussion at this point, but the directors have expressed concern and recommended that the ministry consider either a few days or in fact the whole week,” Pontes told the Globe and Mail in an interview.
Parents across social media are questioning the effectiveness of altering the school year.
What evidence do we have that this strategy will help. Many parents may need to put their children in alternative programs – camps etc., introducing them to another cohort of children.
— Kathy Schreiber (@KathySchreiber6) November 13, 2020
ON continues to break records almost daily. Today marks the third day in a row that daily school cases are >100 pushing cumulative cases past 3100https://t.co/6WvVp3UXlK
— Ontario Schools Covid Data (@ONTSchoolCovid) November 12, 2020
In Ontario, health officials reported 1,396 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, with 19 additional deaths — this brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the province to 3,312. There are 1,018 more resolved cases and more than 40,500 tests completed. Triple and double-digit cases are in the usual hot spots:
- 440 new cases in Toronto
- 440 in Peel Region
- 155 in York Region
Toronto was originally set to enter the orange zone of the province’s response framework on Nov. 14, but due to the rise in COVID cases, the city will be placed in the red zone on Saturday, with extra measures in effect for at least 28 days.
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