Waterloo schools to remain shuttered until at least Feb. 10, boards say

As Ontario continues under a stay-at-home order to curb surging coronavirus cases, local students who have been learning remotely will stay the course for several weeks yet.

After learning that schools would remain closed from the province on Wednesday, parents of students in Waterloo Region were told by local school boards Thursday that schools will remain shuttered for most students until Feb. 10 at the earliest.

“It is our understanding that the next window for return will occur on February 11th,” Waterloo Catholic District School Board Director of Education Loretta Notten said in a letter issued to parents.

Read more: Province of Ontario to keep Waterloo Region schools closed going forward

“We would expect to hear approximately a week before then as to which regions will be permitted to return to face to face learning.”

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Parents of children in Catholic schools were also to make a decision on which stream of learning they would continue in next week, but that has now been pushed.

“This survey was to take place January 27th to 29th,” Notten wrote. “Given that we are all remote at this time and that we will not be well served by any transitions at this time, we will defer the survey until our return date and circumstances are clear.”

The Waterloo Region District School Board provided a similar update to parents as well.

The public board had previously announced a change to the decision timeframe on remote vs. classroom learning.

It noted that students with special needs would still be allowed to return to in-class learning.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ontario government releases highly anticipated back-to-school plan' 2:21 Coronavirus: Ontario government releases highly anticipated back-to-school plan

Coronavirus: Ontario government releases highly anticipated back-to-school plan

On Wednesday, the province announced its decision late in the afternoon that students in Waterloo Region would not be allowed to return to classrooms next Monday as originally expected, but did not provide a timetable of what was coming next.

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This is not the first time the Ministry of Education has made these decisions at the last minute leaving parents to deal with the consequences.

Read more: Schools in just 7 southern Ontario regions to open in-person Monday, rest stay online

On Boxing Day, the province announced that all schools across the province would remain closed for an extra week after Christmas.

Those students were expected to return to in-person learning on Jan. 11.

Lecce reiterated that in a letter to parents on Jan. 4, but shifted gears three days later when he announced that a good portion of southern Ontario schools would continue remote learning until Jan. 25.

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