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In-person learning remains suspended across GTA, other PHUs to see students return to class Monday

Last Updated Jan 20, 2021 at 9:24 pm EDT

Elementary students are tentatively slated to return to their classrooms on January 11. Jerry Wang

Ontario’s Education Minister says over 100,000 students from multiple Public Health Units (PHUs) including Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge, and Peterborough Public Health, among others, will return for in-person learning next week.

“On the advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is allowing seven public health units and over 100,000 students to return to class on Monday, January 25,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a statement.

In-person learning will remain suspended across the GTA under recommendation from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, who says the closure of schools in Durham and Halton regions will continue until further notice.

As part of Ontario’s state of emergency, schools in ‘Grey-Zones‘ were supposed to return to in-class learning on February 10.

The province is no longer using that date, instead the chief medical officer of health will continue to “review public health trends and advise.”

The ‘Grey-Zones’ include Windsor, Toronto, Peel, York, and Hamilton.

“Getting students back into class is our top priority. According to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and leading medical and scientific experts, including the Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario’s schools are safe places for learning,” Lecce added.

The province says the government is introducing additional measures including “province-wide targeted asymptomatic testing, enhanced screening, mandatory masking for students in Grades 1-3 and outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.”

The following PHUs will be permitted to resume in-person learning on January 25:

  • 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
  • Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit
  • Peterborough Public Health
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit


All schools in the following schools boards will resume in-person learning on January 25:  

  • Limestone District School Board  
  • Renfrew County District School Board  
  • Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board  
  • Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board  
  • Renfrew County Catholic District School Board  
  • Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board  
  • Bluewater District School Board


The province says some schools will resume in-person learning on January 25 and others will continue to teach remotely.

These local PHUs should be contacted on the status of schools in these boards: 

  • Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board  
  • Trillium Lakelands District School Board  
  • Upper Canada District School Board  
  • Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario
  • Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic DSB  
  • Conseil des écoles publiques de l`Est de l`Ontario  
  • Conseil scolaire catholique Providence  
  • Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir  
  • Conseil scolaire de district catholique du Centre-Est de l’Ontario  


On January 12, the Ford government announced that elementary and secondary students in Windsor-Essex, Region of Peel, Toronto, York Region, and Hamilton PHUs will continue to learn remotely.

Lecce says, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government will continue to monitor public health trends in these regions.

Elementary students and secondary students in the seven Northern Ontario public health unit regions returned to in-person learning on January 11.

In recent weeks, the union representing the province’s elementary teachers pushed local public health units to reconsider a return to in-person learning, especially for areas hit hardest by the virus.

President of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), Sam Hammond, has said it makes no sense to send students, teachers, and education workers back to school while the province is locked down.

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