Schools move online-only in Peel as variant COVID-19 cases spike

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 6, 2021

Peel Public Health said it saw a jump in cases and the community spread of variants late last week and through the weekend.

"Unfortunately, current circumstances require that hard decisions must be taken locally to protect all those in our school communities, including students, teachers and staff".

The schools will move to online learning only and will remain closed until April 18.

Ontario reported 236 new, school-related COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, including 207 in students.

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

This closure will allow students and staff at least two weeks out of schools to break any chains of transmission and protect them from exposure. But that may be extended if COVID-19 indicators don't improve, the regional health authority said.

"This closure is a necessary step", Dr. Lawrence Loh, the region's medical officer of health, said in the release.

"TPH will continue to recommend early dismissal for individual schools upon investigation to protect students, staff, teachers, and school communities", said the health unit Monday.

"In Peel we have 24 schools in outbreak, 15 of them are in Mississauga but schools aren't the source of the spread", said Crombie.

The closure will affect all Dufferin Peel District Catholic School Board, Peel District School Board, Conseil Scolaire Viamonde, Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir and all private schools.

"Stronger public health measures are required to reverse the surge of infection that the province now faces".

He says that any further decisions to extend the order will be made, as required.

In Peel Region, licensed child care programs will stay open for children younger than six years old who are not in school programs, per the release.

"It looks like our efforts may have worked", Ryan Harper, vice-president for District 19 TBU at the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, wrote in a tweet after the news emerged.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) announced the opening of another vaccine clinic on Monday but did not say it would follow in Peel's footsteps.

Last week, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced in-class instruction and April Break would go on as planned.

The minister's office has defended its stance on keeping students in class, saying Monday "schools remain safe with strong public health measures in place that have kept almost 99% of schools in Ontario open".

It is unknown how long Loh intends to keep schools closed.

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