Extension of Closures and Second Phase of Learn at Home

Summary

Today, Premier Ford, Minister Lecce, Minister Romano and Minister Elliott announced further measures to support parents and families during this time. This morning Minister Romano announced support for university and college students and their families be deferring OSAP loan payments and introducing new e-campus measures.

As part of a larger education announcement, this afternoon, Minister Lecce announced that school and child care centres will remain closed to protect the health and safety of students and staff.

This extension is being made on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020. Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed until April 13, according to the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time. Select centres designated to support frontline health care workers and first responders will remain open.  

To ensure continuity of learning, the government is launching the second phase of Learn at Home.  Developed in conjunction with education partners, we are establishing clarity for parents, enhanced education supports, and creating opportunities for teachers and educators to connect with students.

Key Messages

  • Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Office of Health, our Government has announced that school and child care centres will remain closed to protect the health and safety of students and staff.
  • Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020.
  • Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed until April 13, according the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time.
  • Select centres designated to support frontline health care workers and first responders will remain open.
  • To ensure continuity of learning, the government has launched the second phase of Learn at Home.
  • Developed in conjunction with education partners, this updated version of Learn at Home will establish clarity for parents, enhance education supports, and create opportunities for education workers to connect with students. The second phase of Learn at Home features a new set of expectations for the education community, including:
    • Reconnecting students with teachers and other school staff, including mental health workers;
    • Re-establishing teacher-led learning by grade groupings as follows:
      • Kindergarten – Grade 3: 5 hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy and math)
      • Grades 4-6: 5 hours of work per student/week (focus on literacy, math, science and social studies)
      • Grades 7-8: 10 hours of work per student/week (focus on math, literacy, science and social studies)
      • Grades 9-12: 3 hours of work per course per week for semestered students; 1.5 hours of work per course per week for non-semestered students (focus on achieving credits/completion/graduation)
    • Leveraging digital resources and identifying alternative forms of teacher-student connectivity, such as phone and mail;
    • Developing a program of training for educators to support them in virtual learning delivery; 
    • Requiring final report cards for all students;
    • Prioritizing and supporting students on track to graduate;
    • Distributing laptops and/or devices from schools as needed, while observing public health direction;
    • Maintaining a responsive posture for health care and community partner requests; and
    • Establishing formal COVID-19 working groups with education sector unions to work together, share ideas and to find solutions in the support of students.
  • Work is also underway to leverage partnerships with the telecommunication sector to provide innovative, low-cost and high-impact solutions to solve the equity challenges facing some students across Ontario.
  • We will do whatever it takes to keep students safe from COVID-19 – which is why we have extended the school closure period and why we have unveiled a teacher-led program that keeps students learning while at home.
  • By providing clarity for parents, enhancing support for students and enabling the teacher-student relationship, we are ensuring our children continue to safely learn – providing some sense of stability and hope for them amid this difficulty.

News Links

English: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/56529/ontario-extends-school-and-child-care-closures-to-fight-spread-of-covid-19

French: https://news.ontario.ca/fr/release/56530/lontario-prolonge-la-fermeture-des-ecoles-et-des-garderies-pour-poursuivre-la-lutte-contre-la-covid-