DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative
Reporter, for The Standard
NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: For parents and students, 2021 opened with a delay to in-person school sessions.
As part of the province of Ontario’s provincial lock-down, they advised elementary and secondary schools to start the calendar year off with online virtual learning for all their students. The Durham District School Board (DDSB) and Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) can begin in-person elementary classes on Monday, January 11th and in-person secondary school classes on Monday, January 25th.
“We know the interruption to learning is a challenge for everyone, however, this step is being taken, in accordance with the Province-wide shutdown announcement, to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We also recognize this shutdown will have a detrimental impact on many families we serve and our goal is to support your child through what may be an unsettling time,” DDSB Director of Education Norah Marsh wrote, in a recent letter to parents.
Ontario education minister Stephen Lecce addressed the situation in a letter to Ontario parents, posted on Sunday, January 3rd.
“We believe so strongly that schools are essential to the well-being, mental health and development of a child, and therefore, must be safeguarded at all costs to ensure they can remain open for safe in-class instruction.”
He stated “medical experts have been clear that schools are not a source of rising community transmission” but they have to take “proactive and preventative action to protect schools following the holiday break.”
The education minister added, the “government has made every effort to prepare for schools transitioning temporarily to remote learning.”