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Schools in Ontario will remain open – even if major lockdown emerges in the province – because they are “critical to the mental health and learning of students,” says Secretary of Education Stephen Lecce

On social media Thursday morning – after reports of impending tougher measures across the province to contain COVID-19 and a letter from the new director of the York Catholic District School Board that caused confusion among parents – Lecce also said The Chief Medical Officer of Health said schools remain safe Against third wave & VOCs (Concerning Variants) have maintained strong protocols 987 percent of schools open and 74 percent with no cases Students deserve to be in class ”

Earlier this week, Lecce had emphasized that it was planned to keep the schools running and from 12 until 16 April Premier Doug Ford said he, Lecce and health experts are keeping an eye on the rising COVID numbers in the community and that parents would receive an update by the end of this week should things change

However, at least one board – Superior Greenstone in Northern Ontario – has already decided to move on to online learning next week after the long Easter weekend

“The Easter holidays are a time when families gather and often travel to congregate, which increases the risk to people and can affect the health and safety of staff and students. It will also affect our ability To occupy schools safely “, it says in a letter to the parents

Families were also reminded that students traveling outside the area – from the White River to the Manitoba border – will not be able to return to school for 14 days after their return

Meanwhile, York Catholic Director Robert Hofstatter issued a letter of apology after mailing a late night letter to parents Wednesday night saying schools would be closed for four weeks

The board of directors “apologizes for any ambiguity regarding possible school closings”, he wrote on Thursday. “From this morning we have the impression that the students will continue to study in class”

However, the Boards have asked staff and students to take materials home with them in the event a class, school, or system migrates to online learning

Students, teachers, and principals have urged the provincial government to keep the spring break in April – after it was originally canceled from the original week in mid-March – and said they need a break

“People need time to turn off their laptops, turn off their phones, and take five days off before we go and return,” said Blaine MacDougall, president of the Council of Catholic Directors of Ontario

Kirsten Kelly of the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association, which campaigns for the province’s two million public students, said they “really need a mental break – it’s like a marathon and we just keep sprinting”

Moving from face-to-face to online learning and “the different circumstances students are facing now … we really need this break. A delay (the club) would not agree,” said Kelly, who was in grade 12 Class of Assumption Catholic Secondary School in Burlington is

Later today, the department is expected to provide school authorities with some information about additional security measures in schools, including mandatory confirmation of COVID screening for all students – similar to what teenagers in Toronto do on their way to high school on the mornings them on site – as well as a new awareness campaign and reminders to educate parents about safety during the spring break

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Stephen Lecce

World News – CA – Schools Remain Open, Says Education Secretary Stephen Lecce