TORONTO — Ontario says students can opt to take all their classes online when the new school year begins in September.
The province says the option will be available for the entire 2021-2022 school year and it will be providing more information to parents in the coming months.
The government says it will increase funding to school boards by $561 million next year to help address continued pandemic-related costs.
It says it will spend a total of $25.6 billion on the education system in 2021-2022 – an increase of 2.2 per cent over the previous year.
The province says it will allow boards to access their reserves, as it did last year, to help address pandemic costs.
It will also extend $1.6 billion in COVID-19 supports to boards, including millions to upgrade ventilation, support learning recovery, and allow for flexible staffing.
The government says it will also continue funding for the purchase of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing and replacement of devices.
It cautions, however, that boards should only budget for half of those resources during the first half of the year, and that the remaining funding depends on vaccine distribution and public health advice.
All schools are currently teaching students online as Ontario remains under a stay-at-home order.
The province reported 2,791 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 25 more deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 931 new cases in Toronto, 653 in Peel Region, and 275 in York Region. The data is based on over 33,700 tests.
The Ministry of Health said that 2,167 people are hospitalized because of the novel coronavirus, with 886 in intensive care and 609 on ventilators.
Ontario said 88,871 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Monday's report, for a total of more than 5.4 million doses given in the province.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2021.
The Canadian Press