The Ontario government will shut down all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March Break, from March 14 to April 5, in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The government said it made the decision based on the advice from Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and experts at the COVID-19 command table, and the move is “necessary to keep people safe,” the province officials said.
An update provided by the Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Thursday afternoon said that the decision to reopening schools will be made toward the end of the two-week closure period after receiving advice from public health officials.
The decision comes hours after the number of COVID-19 cases jumped dramatically in a single day, with health officials confirmed 17 new cases including a baby boy in Toronto, Peel, Waterloo, and Muskoka. Ontario now has 59 confirmed cases and five cases have been resolved.
The government also announced a $100-million contingency fund to help tackle the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New dedicated screening centres are being set up around the province in the coming days, the Ministry of Health said Thursday.
“Our public health system has demonstrated remarkable responsiveness to COVID-19 and these measures we are putting in place will ensure that we continue to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario and thereby protect children and families across the province.” the ministry said in a news release.