One month ago this past Monday marked the last time that most students in Guelph stepped foot inside their schools and classrooms, at least the ones that were physically going to school in the first place. On Wednesday, it was announced that January will end without kids going back to school as Public Health has extended the order for mandatory virtual learning for another week as the case count slowly declines.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer released a statement on Wednesday announcing that online learning has been extended one more week, and the hope now is that classes can resume on February 1.
“I know everyone wants schools open for in-person learning as soon as it is safe,” Mercer said. “Teachers and parents are keenly aware of the value our children get from being able to gather together with their teachers and classmates and the pressure that remote learning places on educators and families. I share these sentiments.”
To recap, the Government of Ontario announced that the province would go back into a lockdown on December 26, and that schools would remain closed an extra week following the holiday break while students resumed classes virtually. The week after new year, the Province announced that the return to school would be further delayed till January 25, and on January 12, the Province announced that schools in Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton and Windsor-Essex would remain closed until February 10.
The Upper Grand District School Board confirmed that their schools will be closed until February 1 with the exception of specialized classes for students with developmental disabilities.
The latest COVID-19 numbers from Public Health show that while the 7-Day Moving Rate of cases per 100,000 is creeping up again at 115.9, the 7-Day Moving Average of Test Positivity is holding steady at 4.2 per cent. The were 33 new cases in our region on Wednesday to bring the total number of active COVID cases up to 416. There have also been another four fatalities from the virus since Monday.
“We are doing the difficult work of bringing COVID back down to levels where we can safely reopen schools, but we are simply not there yet,” Mercer added. “I urge everyone in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph to keep up the work of reducing the spread of the virus. Thank you again to administrators, staff, teachers and parents doing the difficult work of remote education.”
No formal announcement about the further delay of resuming in-person classes has yet to be received from Ministry of Education but it’s expected sometime later this week.