With memories still fresh of a six-month-long March Break, moms and dads may be happy to hear that Education Minister Stephen Lecce confirmed Ontario’s back-to-school start dates have not changed over the course of the holiday.
Elementary students across the province will return January 11, as well as secondary school students in Northern Ontario health districts. Secondary school students across the rest of the province will return to in-school learning on January 25.
Lecce sent an open letter to Ontario parents Saturday, offering assurance that “our schools are safe” and “essential to the well-being, mental health, and development of a child and therefore, must be safeguarded at all costs to ensure they can remain open for safe in-class instruction.
Other issues addressed in the Education Minister’s open-letter were support measures for online learning, financial relief for parents, and enhanced child care safety.
To prepare for transitions of temporary remote learning, minimum standards have been introduced, seeing teachers required to provide students through grades 1-12 with 75% of their daily instruction delivered through “Zoom-style” live sessions. Alleviating more worries, Lecce stated that “every teacher in this province received mandatory training on remote learning, before the school year began.”
Financial relief via the Support for Learners program, offering parents a one-time payment per child to cover at-home education costs, will continue. The program has also been expanded “to include financial supports for high school students, recognizing added costs of technology to internet for these parents while their kids stay at home for longer periods.”
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