Ontario Premier Doug Ford Provides COVID-19 Update | July 30
Note: ASL interpreter is not available on the screen but closed caption is available.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce unveiled the highly anticipated plan to reopen schools and childcare centres in Ontario in their daily appearance this afternoon.
Ford announced that elementary students will be in the classroom five days a week for five hours of instruction per day as of September 8, 2020, with a series of protective measures in place. Masks will be mandatory for teachers, and cloth masks mandatory for students in Grades 4 to 12, with medical exceptions for not wearing masks allowed. Masks will be optional for younger students. The province will be investing $309 million to help re-open schools, which includes hiring 500 public health nurses to be embedded in schools and 900 custodians to help keep schools clean. Other safety measures include expanded screening and COVID-19 testing in schools and protocols for managing an outbreak.
Lecce underlined that all publicly funded elementary schools will be reopening for five days a week across the province in September while secondary schools will be reopening in an “adapted model” — students will be in cohorts of 15 and alternate attending classes in person and online. Secondary schools with “lower risk profiles” will be allowed to reopen for in-person classes five days a week. Lecce stressed that parents will be allowed to choose if their children attend in-class or online learning.
Childcare centres will also be allowed to operate at full capacity starting September 1.
The province is also investing another $10 million of net new funding for mental health and $15 million to increase students’ access to technology.