January 20th 2021 – Students in some regions of Ontario will return to in-class learning on Monday, January 25th, but not those who live in Cornwall, SDG Counties and Prescott-Russell.
The province announced that select health units, including students in the neighbouring Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit can go back to class Monday.
"On the advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is allowing seven public health units and over 100,000 students return to class on January 25th," said Education Minister Stephen Lecce in a release. "Getting students back into class is our top priority."
COVID-19 infection numbers are lower in the seven health units where students are allowed to return to in-class learning. As of January 20th, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Counties has 28 active COVID-19 infections, while the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region has 560 active cases.
Students who attend school in any of the four school boards within the EOHU region will continue to learn by online or remote learning until further notice. This includes schools in South Dundas.
All elementary and secondary schools in Ontario have been remote-only instruction since the Christmas Break ended on January 4th.
For those returning to class, there are new safety measures to follow. This includes mandatory mask wearing for Grade 1 to 3 students in class, and mask wearing in outdoor spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
The Ontario government is also rolling out a program of province-wide targeted asymptomatic testing of staff and students, along with enhanced screening of students.
Other health unit regions returning to in-class instruction include:
- Grey Bruce Health Unit
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
- Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit
- Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington Health Unit
- Peterborough Public Health
- Renfrew County and District Health Unit.
Story by Phillip Blancher of The Leader for the Local Journalism Initiative