Ontario schools will remain closed until at least May 31

TORONTO – The province has announced all publicly funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31.

Education minister Stephen Lecce made the announcement on April 26, based on advice from health experts and updated modelling and data.

“We will do whatever it takes to keep our students safe,” Lecce stated.

“The government is taking a careful approach which provides our medical experts the time to review the modelling and make the best decision for the safety of our students and the future of learning.”

Lecce added that “if necessary, the closure may be extended further to protect the health and safety of Ontario’s school communities.”

The government announced on March 12 that all publicly funded schools would close for two weeks following the regularly-scheduled March break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Classes were to resume on April 6, but Ford, during a March 23 press conference, said that is “not realistic.”

In a press conference on March 31, Premier Doug Ford announced all schools will remain closed to students until at least May 4.

On April 26 Lecce said that despite extending the closures until May 31, all students will still receive final marks based partially on students’ participation in e-learning.

“Regardless of what transpires over the coming weeks, Ontario’s students will be able to complete their school year with confidence,” Lecce said in the release.

“In particular, for students in their final year, we are removing all impediments to ensure students graduate and pursue post-secondary education.”

He added the province will replace remaining professional activity (PA) days and examination days with instruction time, in order to mitigate the impact of school closures.

Ontario will also offer an “expanded summer learning program that will focus on credit recovery, supports for vulnerable students, and course upgrading,” Lecce stated.

Private schools, First Nation schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will remain closed until May 6, though the province is expected to extend those closures, in 14-day increments, to match the closure of publicly funded schools.