In Toronto this afternoon, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and Coordinator of the Provincial Outbreak Response Dr. Dirk Huyer provided an update on the province’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and announced changes to school closures.
Southern Ontario schools to remain closed During today’s announcement the Province confirmed that elementary schools in Southern Ontario will remained closed for an additional two weeks, until January 25th, 2021. At this time, there has been no change to the return to school timeframe for high school students. The government is not implementing this extension of online learning in elementary schools across the entire province due to poor internet connectivity in Northern Ontario.
The government will use this time to evaluate the best next steps for schools in Ontario, with an aim to avoid continuously closing and reopening schools over the coming months.
COVID-19 positivity rates increasing Over the last several weeks there has been a large increase in positive COVID-19 tests across all age groups while the province has been administering a record number of tests. The extension of online learning is a result of the current 15 to 19 per cent positivity rate in children aged four to thirteen.
Lockdowns in northern region Due to an increase in cases, the lockdown in Northern Ontario will continue with the rest of the province until the 23rd of January, instead of ending this weekend as originally planned.
You can read the full release here.