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Child care for non-school aged children to remain open as students move to remote learning

The province says before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided
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Ontario students won't be returning to in-person learning after this week's break.

The province announced today that schools are moving to remote learning after the April break, which started today. There is no date from the province for when students could return to school.

Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided.

The province says school boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.

Last week, when the state of emergency was declared and the stay-at-home order was put in place — the indication was that kids would be returning to class. 

Today, however, Premier Doug Ford said there is a "rapidly deteriorating situation with a record number of COVID cases and hospital admissions threatening to overwhelm our health care system."

"As I have always said we will do whatever it takes to ensure everyone stays safe. By keeping kids home longer after spring break we will limit community transmission, take pressure off our hospitals and allow more time to rollout our COVID-19 vaccine plan," he said in a news release.

Recently, there have been cases at Algoma-area schools. Cases have been linked to Tarentorous Public School, Korah Collegiate, and St. Mary's College over the past week. Additionally, an outbreak was declared at Child Care Algoma's Early Learning Centre in Echo Bay.

Today, the province announced 4,401 new cases of the virus. There are more than 34,000 active cases in Ontario, which is the highest ever reported by Public Health Ontario.

The increasing rate of the virus spreading in communities poses "a threat to the health and safety of school communities," according to the province.

"As a result, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the April break on April 19, 2021. Private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15, 2021. This action is being taken in support of the government's broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and health officials will be consulted to determine when it will be safe to resume in-person learning," reads the announcement.