Ontario extends school closures until January 25th

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While students in Southern Ontario will have to continue learning online for two more weeks, students in Northern Ontario will be heading back to school for in-person learning starting January 11 as cases in those regions are much lower than those in the south.

Premier Doug Ford says he is going to consult with the province's medical experts on whether students should return to schools next week.

Ontario reported 3,266 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases since mid-January to 200,626.

"However, with a significant rise in cases across our region and evidence of transmission among school-aged children, we must make this hard decision to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our region safe".

"That's why we're extending the remote learning period ..."

The province of 5 million on Canada's west coast reported 761 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.

The Ontario government has extended school closures.

By the week of December 27, the province recorded a 116 per cent increase in the positivity rate among the same age group, jumping up to 15.66 per cent, with 720 positive cases.

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"We are trying to get the right balance here where we have a deferral of the reopening for two weeks while we get these other things in place because we want the schools to be open and we want them to stay open", he said.

It says it doesn't make sense to send students back to school in communities that will remain in lockdown.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce takes questions on Tuesday, May 19.

The province said northern Ontario students will still return to in-person classes on Monday, but a lockdown in that region that was to lift this weekend will be extended for two weeks. "If we use the same metric, we now have about 14 in that category", he said, noting only one health unit region in the province remains in the green zone.

The province is also providing an additional $80 million for more technological devices, such as laptops and tablets, to support school boards in procuring about 160,000 additional devices province-wide.

"[These] measures will help us continue to stop the spread of this deadly virus", he adds.

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