Feb 03, 2021
By Christine Ross
Ontario school students are going back to the classroom over the next two weeks. Students in 13 regions including Hamilton head back on Monday, but those in Toronto, Peel and York Regions return a week later, February 16th. Education Minister Stephen Lecce is promising tougher safety measures.
“Those include province-wide access to targeted, voluntary asymptomatic testing that will be deployed by the local public health unit for students and for staff,” said Lecce. “We’ve mandated masking for students in grade one and up including outdoors where physical distancing can’t be maintained.”
As for smaller class size, as demanded by the Official Opposition, Lecce says it’s a challenge because some boards are reporting up to a 40 percent absenteeism among teachers. Previously, the province announced it’s allowing teacher education students to work as occasional teachers.
Lecce says if trends move in the wrong direction, he’ll follow the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health although no firm case count threshold was offered.