Many educators say they are exhausted and need a break after a pandemic school year of enforcing safety protocols and shifting between in-person and online classes. A survey conducted by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board garnered many comments from students who said they wanted a break, too.
The Ottawa French public school board has sent a letter to parents advising them that elementary children would be issued Chromebooks to take home in case schools did not reopen after the April break.
Lecce has said that keeping schools open is a priority for the academic and mental health of students.
In the legislature Tuesday, Lecce repeated statistics he frequently cites: 99 per cent of Ontario schools are open and 99 per cent of students don’t have an active case of COVID-19.
The government’s daily COVID-19-in-schools tally showed that, as of Tuesday, 58 of the province’s 4,828 schools are closed, or 1.2 per cent.
However, that’s not a full picture of the situation. Many schools are now being closed not because of the threat posed by COVID-19 infections but because of staff shortages caused by the rising numbers of educators who are in self-isolation.
In addition, the number of closed schools listed in the ministry data does not include schools in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, where local public health authorities ordered students to shift to online learning at home in mid-March because of soaring community rates of COVID-19. The school buildings were not ordered closed, however, because educators are allowed to use the space to teach virtual classes and so a few special-education students who can’t learn online can attend in-person classes.
Either the province or local public health authorities can issue orders affecting schools.
The province ordered Ontario students to move temporarily to remote learning at home on Jan. 4 after COVID-19 cases rose during the Christmas break.
Students returned to in-person classes between mid-January and mid-February, depending on the region.
This content was originally published here.