Premier Doug Ford has announced that it is unrealistic to expect for students to return to school on April 6, 2020 due to the state of emergency. The decision to close schools beyond April 6th is based on the decision of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams. The Premier did not specify when students will be able to return to school.
The Ontario government has put forth new tools that are designed to assist parents in home-schooling their children while schools are closed due to COVID-19. There are supplementary resources available for elementary and secondary students to practice math and literacy skills at home. These materials are not intended to replace what is learned at school, as a result they will not be graded or assessed based on these online resources. These online sources are to be used as self-directed learning. This may change in the future depending on the evolving updates from the Ministry of Education. School boards will decide how and if they are able to implement online learning in the future during school closures due to COVID-19. The school boards recognize that some students may not have access to computers, laptops, or have reliable internet connections. For those students who have a lack of access, there are measures being looked into to see how they can ensure each student has equal access to education if they move forth to online learning during the COVID-19 related school closures.
Elementary students have access to educational programming on Television Ontario (TVO) that focuses on mathematics, science, and language. While high school students have access to an online portal that focuses on applied and academic courses. The online portal for the high school students is currently being updated which means not all of the courses will be available online at this moment.
Cancellation of EQAQ tests and the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test
Ontario’s Ministry of Education has announced that graduating students who have the ability to graduate will not be impacted by the school closures. The Ministry has announced that they have cancelled EQAQ tests and moved the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test as a requirement for graduating. Students who are expected to graduate this year can continue on the process of applying to post-secondary school.
Daycare Closures & Frontline Workers Exemptions
The Ministry of Education has announced that there will be an exemption in the closure of child care centres. Frontline workers and health care workers will have support during the COVID-19 outbreak by giving them access to emergency child care centres. The Ministry of Education released a report stating, “[h]ealth care and other frontline workers, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police, and correctional officers, will be able to access safe, local emergency child care.” There will be an online list of these emergency childcare centres listed on ontario.ca/coronavirus, once it is available.
The COVID-19 pandemic is continuously changing with new developments. Continue to monitor the media for new updates.
Announcement for Frontline Workers and Daycare: https://news.ontario.ca/edu/en/2020/03/province-takes-steps-to-ensure-frontline-staff-can-continue-to-work.html
Announcement – Ontario Helping Students Learn from the Safety of Their Own Home: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-helping-students-learn-from-the-safety-of-their-own-home.html
EQAO Assessment Update: https://www.eqao.com/en/about_eqao/media_room/Pages/2019-2020-Assessment-Cancellation.aspx
Learn at Home: https://www.ontario.ca/page/learn-at-home
List of Daycare Services for Frontline Workers: ontario.ca/coronavirus
Stephen Leece’s Response to Online Learning: https://globalnews.ca/news/6716459/ontario-schools-coronavirus-coursework/
Teachers Curriculum: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/curriculum.html