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Toronto schools are closing in-person learning until April 19

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Toronto Public Health (TPH), has just announced that all schools in Toronto, including those at the TDSB and TCDSB, will be closed to in-person learning as of Wednesday, April 7, 2021 and remain closed up to and including Sunday, April 18, 2021. This TPH order is being made under Section 22 of Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Until Friday, April 9, 2021 students will continue to learn remotely. April Break will take place from April 12 –17, 2021, as has been previously communicated, with no classes during this time. Students are expected to return to in-person learning on Monday, April 19, 2021.

Toronto Public Health officials say the spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto, with variants of concern increasing both the risk of transmission and the risk of serious illness or death. Stronger public health measures are required to reverse the surge of infection that the province currently faces.

Given the evidence, Toronto Public Health (TPH) says it appreciates the value of in-person learning, and firmly believes that schools should be the first places in our community to open, and the last to close. TPH has worked closely with its partners including local school boards, municipal leaders and our provincial counterparts. Unfortunately, current circumstances require that difficult decisions must be taken locally to protect all those in our school communities, including students, teachers and staff.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, is issuing a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, that requires all elementary and secondary school students to transition to online/remote learning effective Wednesday, April 7 at 12:01 a.m. The order will be in place from April 7 to 18, which will bring students to the end of the April break. An extension of this order may be considered based on COVID-19 epidemiological data for Toronto.

Licensed child care programs will not be permitted to offer care to children whose schools are required to be closed under the order, with the exception of emergency child care for those who qualify.

Toronto District School Board says “for the remainder of this week, students and staff will move to remote learning and the April Break scheduled for next week will continue as normal. Please note that, unlike the closure in January and February, this applies to all TDSB students in all TDSB schools. School-aged children will not be permitted to attend daycares located inside TDSB schools during the closure, however, pre-school-aged children will continue to be permitted to attend.”

TPH says they appreciate that this decision places additional burden on many including students, staff and families, and especially those with younger children and fewer supports. The health and safety of students and staff remains a priority for TPH. This action is being taken in an effort to keep our communities safe and prevent further spread of COVID-19.

SOURCES Toronto Public Health and Toronto District School Board

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

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