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Durham students to continue learning from home next week

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Initiative

Students will be learning from home “until further notice,” according to the DDSB.

Durham Region was not on the list released by the Ministry of Education Wednesday of regions that can return to in-person school on Jan. 25.

“This means that students will continue to learn remotely until further notice,” says the DDSB, noting the ministry has previously indicated the next date students would be returning to in-person learning is Wednesday, Feb. 10.

“While we understand the news that we will continue to be learning remotely may be disappointing to some, it is critical that everyone in our community continues to follow the provincial stay-at-home order to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the board continues. “We have seen a reduction in COVID-19 cases in Durham Region over the past week but it appears that more must be done until schools can re-open.”

According to the Durham Region Health Department, as of Jan. 21, there are 754 active COVID-19 cases in Durham, which brings the total of confirmed cases to date in Durham to 9,900.

There are currently 711 cases in home isolation and 43 cases in hospital, 14 of which are in the ICU.

Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education, released a statement late Wednesday noting more than 100,000 students in seven public health units will be returning to class on Monday, Jan. 25, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Public health units heading back to in-person learning include 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; and Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

“Getting students back into class is our top priority,” he says. “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.”

Earlier this month, on Jan. 12, the province announced that elementary and secondary students in Toronto, York, Hamilton, Peel, and Windsor-Essex will not be returning to school until at least Feb. 10.

Schools in northern Ontario were able to return to in-person learning on Jan. 11.

The government is also introducing additional measures to ensure schools remain safe, including targeted asymptomatic testing, enhanced screening, and mandatory masking for students in Grades 1 to 3 and outdoors where physical distancing can’t be maintained. Masking in kindergarten will be strongly encouraged.