About an hour after the WDGPH announcement, Premier Doug Ford announced all elementary schools across Ontario would be restricted to online learning for an additional two weeks (until January 25). Schools in northern Ontario will reopen for in-person learning on January 11.
With the increased risk of transmissions due to the confirmed presence of the COVID-19 United Kingdom variant in the province, Ontario is taking measures to ensure the safety of all Ontarians and the ability for the health system to provide care for patients.
Premier Doug Ford said earlier Thursday that he received new data indicating COVID-19 positivity rates amongst children have been increasing. According to the province the positivity rate for COVID-19 in elementary school-aged children before Christmas was 5.44 per cent, and that that number has now jumped to 20 per cent.
With two kids at home - a four-year-old in junior kindergarten and a six-year-old with ADHD in Grade 1 - she said she'd all but given up on remote learning after Tuesday.
The province added 3,519 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, it's highest one day count since the pandemic began.
There have now been 6,856 lab-confirmed cases in Waterloo Region since the pandemic began, a number that has risen substantially over the last two months; on November 7, there were 2,349 cases in the region, the dashboard shows.
Troster said the decision also forces parents to take time off work while they "take on the role of an unpaid educational assistant", which not everyone can afford to do.
Over 100 school's stay closed in Norfolk due to Covid
The letter outlines the debate which is ongoing between teaching unions and the Government regarding the reopening of schools. Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Mr Johnson said: "Schools are safe".
"I have remained firmly committed to getting students back into class as soon as possible - there is nothing more important", states Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, noting the medical and scientific experts have been clear.
This is the second time the province has implemented at-home learning for elementary students after the government closed schools last March.
"We wanted to ensure that we would have a second dose available when day 21 started rolling around", he said.
"We must also be seeking to mitigate the impacts that increased screen time and a lack of face-to-face social interaction with peers and adults outside of the home will have on students' mental health, learning progress, and development", Cathy Abraham said in a statement.
Ontario has been under a province-wide lockdown since December 26, which forces non-essential businesses to close and prohibits in-person dining at restaurants and bars.
Open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m.to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m.to 3:30 p.m.