Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced that schools and child care centres will remain closed to protect the health and safety of students and staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020, when it is hoped classes will resume. However, this decision will be re-evaluated based on public health advice closer to the date and may be extended, if necessary.
Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed until April 13, according to the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time. Select centres designated to support frontline health-care workers and first responders will remain open.
Mental health of students
Minister Lecce recognized the toll COVID-19 has had on the mental health and well-being of students. He noted that the government is actively working with Kids Help Phone to provide support for kids in need.
Lecce also revealed they are working to “unleash the full support of mental health professionals” so they can connect with kids in a secure manner.
More details on these mental health programs are expected to be revealed in the coming days.
Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano announced three new initiatives to support post-secondary institutions and their students.
• A six-month deferral of all OSAP loan repayments and a freeze on the accrual of interest is in place.
• An injection of $25M into all 45 colleges and universities in Ontario to assist them in addressing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 crisis.
• The retention of a third-party vendor that will maintain the integrity of examinations and gradings to ensure the reputation of degrees is protected during this period.
All outdoor recreational amenities now closed
Late last night, the Ontario government extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings. In addition, Ontario is issued a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately.
From Enterprise Canada