Ford, Lecce to make announcement as Ontario stay-at-home order ends

Reopening

Students in Ontario have been learning remotely since April 19 due to soaring rates of COVID-19 amid the third wave of the pandemic.

According to Ford, the government's Science Advisory Table found that reopening schools to in-person learning could result in an increase of six to 11 per cent in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases.

The province's top doctor along with the vast majority of his regional counterparts and other experts have said students should return to classrooms for their well-being.

On Monday, Ford said his government was reviewing responses to a letter sent last Thursday that solicited advice from a range of expert groups, including public health officials and teachers unions.

The government is still urging people to be safe and continue to get vaccinated in the days and weeks ahead. Youth aged 12 and over are now eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, as well as at select pharmacies administering the Pfizer vaccine.

Schools are expected to return to in-person learning in September for the 2021-22 school year.

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The stay-at-home order, which has been in effect since April 7, requires all Ontario residents to remain at home except for essential purposes set out in the order.

Vaccinations will be the key in allowing students, teachers, and education staff to safely return to the classroom in September, Lecce added.

The decision to keep schools closed "was a hard choice to make, but I will not - and I repeat, I will not - take unnecessary risks with our children right now", Ford said, citing the increased danger posed by variants to younger people.

"We have free pickup in-store option online that people can choose and we also ship outside of the region as well", said Rickie Nelson, manager of Luster & Oak in Waterloo. "We want to be fully staffed and ready to go".

Ford said he understands kids will be losing out on valued experiences, so he's asked all school boards to allow for outdoor graduation ceremonies for all grade levels, not just students in grades 8 and 12.

"COVID-19 has taken a significant toll on everyone in Ontario", said Premier Ford. Our kids are struggling. That's Doug Ford's fault. Following prioritization of education workers with a first dose this spring, the province also expects to reach all education workers with a second dose by the week of August 15, if not already eligible earlier by age cohort or other eligibility.

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