11/18/2020 12:07 EST | Updated 11/18/2020 12:14 EST

Ontario Schools Won't Be Closing For Extended Winter Break, Minister Says

Schools will stay open “in January and beyond.”

Carlos Osorio/Canadian Press
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce tour Kensington Community School on Sept. 1, 2020.

TORONTO — Ontario’s public schools will open as usual after the winter break, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced Wednesday.

“We have consulted with the Chief Medical Officer of Health as well as the Public Health Measures Table and have determined that an extended winter holiday is not necessary at this time, given Ontario’s strong safety protocols, low levels of transmission and safety within our schools,” Lecce said in a statement emailed to reporters.

Schools will stay open “in January and beyond,” he said.

... An extended winter holiday is not necessary at this time.Education Minister Stephen Lecce

On Tuesday, Lecce had hinted he was in talks with the chief medical officer of health about potentially closing schools for an extra-long break.

The province did close schools in March because of rising COVID-19 case numbers and didn’t reopen them until the new school year started in September.

COVID-19 has infected 96,745 Ontarians and killed 3,383 as of Wednesday. After relatively low rates reported in the summer, cases have soared. Ontario has reported more than 1,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus every day for the past 12 days.

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