Ford extends Ontario school closures until May 4

Doug Ford has announced in a press conference today that publicly funded schools will remain closed until May 4

Doug Ford has announced in a press conference today that publicly funded schools will remain closed until May 4, while also pledging to support families, students and teachers.

"The next two weeks are absolutely critical for Ontario," said Ford. "What we do today will determine what we face tomorrow. That's why we extended the declaration of emergency for anther two weeks."

"Effective immediately, we have closed publicly funded schools to at least May 1 for teachers and May 4 for students," added the premier. Also stating that his government is prepared to extent this timeline if it is necessary.

This comes after an announcement yesterday, where Ford closed all public and private recreational spaces like beaches, soccer fields and tennis courts.

Doug Ford has also said he is working with the school boards to ensure that students can get credits to go on and graduate.

"We're working closely with the school board to find ways to make students complete the school year so they can advance to the next year and earn credits and graduate. We're easing the financial burden on university and college students and their families by providing a six month grace period through the Ontario student assistant program these new measures will help students continue their studies and get their diploma."

Ontario's Minister of Education Stephen Lecce followed the Premier's remarks, saying "our government confirmed that publicly funded schools will remained closed until May 4 ... our aim is to provide [teachers and students] with some stability."

Talking specifically about how teachers would be adapting to the new learning environment, Lecce said that the Ford government had developed a training program.

“We’ve developed a training program for educators to support them in virtual learning delivery. We need to enhance the capacity of some educators using online tools, many do this already, and they do it well. Now our aim is to ensure all teachers have that professional development to prove to their kids.”

"We're ensuring students with special education needs get the support they deserve ... we will do everything to help you child," he added.

“The summary of this plan is we will do whatever it takes," said Lecce.