280,000 More Ontario Students to Return to Class

In-Person Learning Begins with Tougher Health and Safety Measures in Place

Today, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement to provide an update on schools resuming in-person learning:

“On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, with the support of the local Medical Officers of Health, and with the introduction of additional layers of protection, 280,000 students in four public health regions will return to class on Monday, February 1.

The government agrees with the growing consensus in the medical community that returning students to in-person learning is essential to the wellbeing, development and mental health of children. According to leading medical and scientific experts, including Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, our province’s schools are safe places for learning.

In the fall, we introduced one of the most comprehensive back-to-school plans in the country with strict health and safety measures. As more students and staff return to in-person learning, we are building on our plan by introducing stronger masking protocols to include grades 1-3, expanding access to targeted asymptomatic testing, and implementing stricter screening protocols.”


Elementary and secondary schools in four additional public health units (PHUs) will be permitted to return to in-person learning on February 1, 2021. This will bring the total number of students able to learn in-person to 520,000 across the province.

The four additional PHUs are:

  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit
  • Southwestern Public Health
  • Ottawa Public Health

This means that all schools in the following schools boards will resume in-person learning on February 1:

  • Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario
  • Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario
  • Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien
  • Conseil scolaire de district catholique du Centre-Est de l’Ontario
  • London District Catholic School Board
  • Ottawa Catholic District School Board
  • Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
  • Thames Valley District School Board
  • Upper Canada District School Board

Two additional school boards that span across multiple PHUs may have some schools that resume in-person learning on February 1, 2021 while other schools will continue to teach remotely. The local PHU should be contacted on the status of schools in these boards:

  • Conseil scolaire catholique Providence
  • Conseil scolaire Viamonde

Local PHUs continue to have the authority to close schools based on their unique circumstances, and parents may choose to permit their children to continue learning remotely.

Schools in the remaining PHUs will continue with remote learning.

In the PHUs that are permitted to return to in-person learning on February 1, before and after school child care programs may also resume on February 1 and emergency child care will end on January 29. In the PHUs where schools are continuing with remote learning, before and after school programs continue to be closed and emergency child care remains available to support children of frontline workers.