Multiple reports Premier Doug Ford wants to keep schools closed

Ontario's top doc supports resumption of in-person learning

What’s left of the school year could remain online.

There are multiple reports Premier Doug Ford would like to continue to keep kids out of the classroom for the little over three weeks that are left in the academic year.

The current stay-at-home order is to expire Wednesday, when the premier is expected to meet with his cabinet.

Ontario’s Science advisory table and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams have come out in support of a resumption of in-person learning. Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner has publicly stated it’s time to get children back in the classroom.

“My position has been always, like our public health measures table and our medical officers of health, that feel that schools should be the last to close and the first to open,” Williams told a news conference last week.

“Ideally, I’d like the schools open before we enter Step 1 of our exit strategy.”

William said he’d also be open to a regional approach to allow some school boards to return to in-person class sooner than others.

The premier fired off a letter to scientists, health units, educators and teacher unions last week seeking their advice on whether to reopen schools. In the letter, Ford expressed his concern about a possible six to 11 per cent spike in new cases the science table said could occur if schools reopen. He also made mention of the new variant of concern first identified in India.

Students have been learning online since early April.

The province reported 699 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest daily count since last October.