TORONTO — Ontario is telling its school boards to prepare for the possibility of fully remote learning in the new year, prompting calls for clarity on whether the government plans to shut down in-class learning in January.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce told boards in a memo late Wednesday that staff and students should be encouraged to bring essential learning materials home over the holidays.

Lecce said that the precaution will help the education system be ready for “all scenarios.”

“The public health environment in Ontario continues to evolve rapidly. The government is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation, including recent trends in hospitalizations and intensive care unit patients,” Lecce said.

“We encourage boards to continue to ensure that students and families are provided the resources required to successfully participate in remote learning.”

Ontario reported 170 new COVID-19 cases related to schools on Thursday, including at least 143 among students.

Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 955 — nearly 20 per cent — out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.


Read more of this article…