The Ministry of Education announced four more regions within Ontario that can be permitted to resume in-person learning as of February 1 and Simcoe-Muskoka was not on that list.
The Education Ministry said Thursday that school boards under the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, the Middlesex-London Health Unit, the Southwestern Public Health Unit, and Ottawa Public Health can allow their schools to reopen and permit students back into the classroom.
The Simcoe County District School Board and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board do not operate schools within any of those four regions, and thus, local remote learning will continue. Nine other school boards will be permitted to continue in-class learning as of February 1. They are:
- Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario
- Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario
- Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien
- Conseil scolaire de district catholique du Centre-Est de l’Ontario
- London District Catholic School Board
- Ottawa Catholic District School Board
- Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
- Thames Valley District School Board
- Upper Canada District School Board
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a statement Thursday that the focus remains on getting kids back into the classroom. “The government agrees with the growing consensus in the medical community that returning students to in-person learning is essential to the wellbeing, development and mental health of children,” he said. “According to leading medical and scientific experts, including Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, our province’s schools are safe places for learning.”
Within the public health unit regions that are not permitted to resume in-person learning, before and after school programs continue to be closed, while emergency child care is available to support children of frontline workers. More information on this is available through the Government of Ontario website.