Toronto Public Health said the shutdown is needed to reverse a surge of new COVID-19 infections. The city reported 955 new cases earlier in the day. The closure means more than 300,000 students, including those who attend private or independent schools, will return to learning from home.
The Ontario government has allowed schools to remain open despite using a province-wide “emergency brake” to deal with the third wave of the pandemic. The shutdown is expected to last from April 7 to April 18, and could be extended if the situation doesn’t improve, TPH said.
The decision comes a day after neighbouring Peel Region opted to shut down its schools on Monday, and will include the April break. Toronto Mayor John Tory said he asked for one additional day to give parents time to prepare, but was told no.
Ontario’s Education Ministry reported 236 school-related cases province-wide on Tuesday. 83 schools, or 1.7 per cent of Ontario 4,828 publicly funded schools, are closed due to COVID-19. The Children’s Health Coalition, which includes experts from a number of Ontario children’s hospitals, put out an open letter. Premier Doug Ford hinted further restrictions could be coming on Wednesday.
News and picture source: CBC