Toronto, Windsor, Hamilton, Peel and York region schools to remain closed until Feb. 10


Premier Doug Ford announced schools in the province’s COVID-19 hotspot regions will remain closed to in-class instruction until at least Feb. 10.

Ford made the announcement on Tuesday along with other restrictions, including a stay-at-home order, under a newly declared state of emergency.

“Based on the advice of the chief medical officer of health schools in Windsor-Essex, Peel, Toronto, York and Hamilton will remain closed for in-person learning until Feb. 10,” Ford said

Last week, the provincial government said elementary students in southern Ontario would not be returning to the classroom on Monday and instead set a date for Jan. 25. That is also when secondary students were expected to return to in-person learning.

Ford said the chief medical officer of health will provide recommendations for other regions ahead of that reopening date, on Jan. 20.

“By January 20, 2021, the Chief Medical Officer of Health will advise the Ministry of Education on which public health units (PHUs) will be permitted to resume in-person instruction, based on the most up-to-date data and modelling. Before- and after-school programs can be offered when in-person instruction resumes. Schools in northern PHUs will continue to remain open,” the government said in a news release Tuesday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott reiterated on Tuesday of the increase in virus detections among children in recent weeks that included during the winter holiday break.

“We also know that children going back to school affects mobility too, over 20 per cent of mobility, because if children are home it changes the parents’ behaviour as well.”

“I know it’s not ideal to have children out of school for long periods of time,” Elliott said. “We do want them to go back as soon as they can, but their safety is paramount and we always have to err on the side of safety when it comes to our children.”