Peel Region schools move classes online

Schools in Peel Region ordered closed for two weeks due to surging COVID-19 cases

Toronto schools have been ordered to close as of Wednesday, forcing students to make the switch from in-person classes to virtual learning.

Peel Public Health continues to work closely with our school board partners to prioritize the health and safety of staff and students.

There have been nearly 2,500 reported COVID-19 cases linked to the province's schools in the past two weeks, with 63 schools closed.

"The spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto, with variants of concern increasing both the risk of transmission and the risk of serious illness or death", said the City in a news release.

The decision has been made unilaterally by Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel's medical officer of health, who will be exercising his discretionary powers to enact such closures under Sec.

Parents were left scrambling by the late decision, which also prohibits Peel students from attending child-care centres or day camps.

Additionally, Toronto Public Health confirmed it issued a Section 22 order to move all Toronto schools to remote learning. "Toronto Public Health (TPH), has just announced that all schools in Toronto, including those at the TDSB, will be closed to in-person learning as of Wednesday, April 7, 2021, and remain closed up to and including Sunday, April 18, 2021", reads a statement by the Toronto District School Board. "I think it's necessary".

Next week is spring break for most elementary and secondary students across the province.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board is also affected by the closure, and it encouraged students to bring materials home with them on Tuesday. "We've been working behind the scenes all weekend to make this happen".

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"In some schools, they were concerned that there might have been some transmission, but their case contact management was starting to get overwhelmed with all the contacts to follow", he said. In February, the government delayed March Break by one month to keep students in the classroom and prevent further COVID-19 transmission.

TPH has shut down up to 22 schools as of Tuesday due to rising case counts with the Toronto Catholic District School Board announcing it would close nine schools, effective Tuesday, due to COVID-19 investigations. There are over 1,000 schools with at least one reported case and 83 are now closed as a result.

"The health and safety of students and staff remains a priority for TPH".

Three teachers' unions have also asked the government to close schools for in-class learning in virus hot spots and offer vaccines to education workers, arguing not enough measures have been taken to keep schools safe.

This closure is a necessary step to protect staff and students in Peel Region.

An online petition calling on the government to vaccinate teachers and support staff in Ontario had garnered around 65,000 signatures by Tuesday afternoon.

According to government statistics, there were 1,062 schools in Ontario with at least one case of COVID-19, out of 4,828 total schools.

The cumulative number of school-related cases in Ontario stands at 13,498 according to the latest figures available from the province.

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