COVID-19 Education Timeline

A collection of all events related to public education in Ontario since the beginning of the pandemic.
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News & Reports
March 11, 2020
One of the earliest op-eds in the National Post to question whether shuttering schools is the right move. At this point, school closures have already interrupted the public education of some 300 million students worldwide.
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News & Reports
March 12, 2020
Hours before announcing province-wide school closures, Premier Ford tells families to go ahead and travel during March break despite fears over the novel coronavirus.
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News & Reports
March 12, 2020
Based on advice from Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Government of Ontario announces the closure of all publicly funded schools for two weeks (March 23 to April 6) following March Break in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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News & Reports
March 20, 2020
Ontario rolls out an online learning portal called “Learn at Home” for students shut out of their schools as part of the province's effort to contain COVID-19. The majority of the resources are from TVO, the province’s public broadcaster. Teacher and educator unions are not involved in the programming but Education Minister Lecce says the government has formed a working group with the province's education sector unions to look at options for continued learning until the pandemic abates.
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Bargaining Update
March 21, 2020
The Elementary teachers’ union and province reach tentative deal, following months of school action, as schools remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic
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News & Reports
March 23, 2020
: Education Minister Stephen Lecce issues an open letter to parents across the province indicating that it's possible students will have to continue their classes online during the global outbreak following the end of the extended March Break.
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News & Reports
March 30, 2020
Hundreds of schools across the Greater Toronto Area re-open for limited time periods to allow teachers and education workers to pick up materials needed for extended closure.
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News & Reports
March 31, 2020
Premier Doug Ford announces that publicly funded schools will be closed until at least Friday, May 1, 2020 for teachers, education workers, and to students until at least Monday, May 4, 2020.
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News & Reports
April 6, 2020
Ontario students begin online learning as coronavirus pandemic continues.
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News & Reports
April 7, 2020
A new study by researchers at University College London says recent modeling studies of COVID-19 suggest that school closures may only have a small effect on stopping the coronavirus.
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News & Reports
April 16, 2020
United Nations releases a report saying the social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic “is potentially catastrophic for millions of children.”
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Bargaining Update
April 20, 2020
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) reaches a new three-year deal with the provincial government, ending a contentious back-and-forth between the two sides since September 2019.
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News & Reports
May 18, 2020
Distance learning a challenge for many during coronavirus pandemic.
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Government Announcement
May 19, 2020
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces that the province is cancelling in-person learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, schools remain open for students in special education programs who cannot learn using online methods. Education workers and teachers in these classes continue to work in-person, face-to-face with students. On the same day the government announces the closure of schools for in-person learning for the remainder of the year, Ontario enters Stage 1 of its gradual reopening plan.
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News & Reports
May 19, 2020
Postmedia Editorial: Closing schools was obvious — now what?
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News & Reports
May 20, 2020
Educators say they are concerned about Ontario’s back-to-school plans.
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News & Reports
May 21, 2020
Study: Increasing screen time during the coronavirus pandemic could be harmful to kids’ eyesight.
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Public Advocacy
May 25, 2020
OSSTF releases a letter to Minister Lecce requesting they be included in consultations prior to the reopening of schools.
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News & Reports
May 27, 2020
Brookings: The impact of COVID-19 on student achievement and what it may mean for educators.
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News & Reports
May 31, 2020
Ontario Ministers ask federal government to help expand rural internet access for students.
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News & Reports
June 17, 2020
Premier Ford says he will work with unions to ensure safety of teachers and education workers when Ontario schools reopen.
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News & Reports
June 19, 2020
The Ontario government releases three plans for how schools will operate in September, but said they don’t expect classrooms will be made of more than 15 students right away as the province continues to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19.
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Public Advocacy
June 19, 2020
OSSTF releases its recommendations for a safe reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
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News & Reports
July 13, 2020
Provinces eye hybrid school reopening model, leaving some parents struggling.
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News & Reports
July 13, 2020
GOLDSTEIN: Ontario's plan for reopening schools needs work.
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News & Reports
July 29, 2020
Toronto’s SickKids Hospital provides updated list of recommendations on how to safely reopen schools.
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News & Reports
July 30, 2020
Educators protest for safe return to school in September.
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News & Reports
July 30, 2020
Hamilton parents, unions see concerning gaps in Ontario’s back-to-school plan.
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Public Advocacy
July 30, 2020
OSSTF/FEESO releases statement saying the Ford government is jeopardizing the safety of students, educators, and all Ontarians by severely underfunding a safe return to school.
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News & Reports
August 13, 2020
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says he's "unlocked" $500 million in funding to enhance physical distancing and improve air quality as multiple unions claim the province's current plan violates provincial health and safety law.
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News & Reports
September 8, 2020
Ontario teacher sounds the alarm as 30-plus students pack into classroom during pandemic.
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News & Reports
September 15, 2020
Masks and class sizes are weak points as schools reopen, Sick Kids study suggests.
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News & Reports
October 4, 2020
Ontario trumpeted its $1.3-billion back-to-school plan. But a closer analysis shows it’s all about muddy math.
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News & Reports
October 11, 2020
‘Double duty’- Educators find themselves teaching in-class and online at same time.
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News & Reports
October 29, 2020
Ontario Families for Public Education and the Ontario Parent Action Network announce they will be launching a public consultation process regarding the province’s pandemic education plan.
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News & Reports
November 19, 2020
Ontario students won’t have a longer winter break after all, with the province saying that its COVID-19 protocols for schools are enough to keep kids safe.
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News & Reports
November 28, 2020
Education Minister Stephen Lecce pens an op-ed titled ‘Keeping schools safe and open.’
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News & Reports
December 10, 2020
Toronto education workers call for the expansion of an asymptomatic COVID-19 testing program as well as a delayed return to in-class learning in the new year.
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Government Announcement
December 21, 2020
The government of Ontario announces province-wide shutdown starting Dec. 26 to stop spread of Covid-19.
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Government Announcement
December 22, 2020
: Premier Doug Ford announces that all schools in Ontario will remain closed after the winter break as part of the province-wide COVID-19 shutdown, with secondary school students returning to the classroom on Jan. 11 in Northern Ontario and Jan. 25 in Southern Ontario. Elementary school students across the province will also return to school on Jan. 11.
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News & Reports
December 31, 2020
Ontario’s last-minute decision to shift classrooms online when schools restart in the New Year forces educators to prep for virtual school over the Holidays.
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News & Reports
January 4, 2021
Students across Ontario return to school virtually for their first week of lessons after the winter holiday.
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News & Reports
January 4, 2021
Ontario Education Minister says aim is to reopen schools safely; expert calls plan 'reckless and dangerous.'
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News & Reports
January 7, 2021
In-class learning for Southern Ontario elementary students delayed until January 25.
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News & Reports
January 8, 2021
Unions call for more supports for online learning needed with extended school closures.
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News & Reports
January 14, 2021
Two weeks in, the options to support rural families who have poor internet access and also live in cellphone dead zones are still few and far between.
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News & Reports
February 2, 2021
Federal government provides $381 million to help get Ontario kids safely back to school.
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News & Reports
February 11, 2021
The Ontario government says it will postpone March Break for students and teachers for a month. The week-long break, which was originally scheduled for March 15-19, will now take place on the week of April 12th.
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News & Reports
February 12, 2021
Education unions say postponing March break not the best move.
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News & Reports
February 17, 2021
Peel, York students return to classrooms as in-person learning resumes across the GTA.
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News & Reports
March 18, 2021
It was just over a year ago — Thursday, March 12, 2020 — the province announced a drastic change was coming to the way kids, teens, and young adults would be learning.
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News & Reports
March 25, 2021
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the province will release a decision in the coming weeks as to how remote learning might be integrated into the education system going forward.
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News & Reports
March 30, 2021
Ontario's education minister confirms April school break to go ahead as planned - for now.
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News & Reports
March 31, 2021
New cases of COVID-19 among Ontario students and staff hit the highest levels since elementary and secondary schools opened last fall, according to provincial data.
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News & Reports
April 1, 2021
Premier Ford announces the entire province is going into a "shutdown" category for at least four weeks after officials warned a third wave is imminent and we risk further lockdown.
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News & Reports
April 5, 2021
Ottawa teachers' unions call for move to online learning unless school safety can be improved.
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News & Reports
April 7, 2021
Ontario confirms 'stay-at-home' order in place from April 8th - May 6th.
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News & Reports
April 12, 2021
Ontario announces schools will move indefinitely to online learning when classes resume after the delayed spring break citing soaring rates of COVID-19.
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News & Reports
May 4, 2021
Minister Lecce says Ontario will offer online learning for the next school year, but has no news about whether or not students might return to in-person classes in the spring.
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News & Reports
May 5, 2021
'Same money, same message’: Provincial announcement of online learning option leaves local unions frustrated
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News & Reports
June 1, 2021
Opposition parties at Queen’s Park demand to know when and how the province will reopen schools for in-person instruction — as Premier Doug Ford’s government continues to mull over the decision.
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Government Announcement
June 2, 2021
Premier Ford announces Ontario schools are not reopening this month and students will continue with remote learning until the end of the school year.
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News & Reports
June 5, 2021
Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table publishes report on the potential impacts of Ontario's lengthy school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Public Advocacy
June 24, 2021
OSSTF/FEESO officially releases Strengthen Public Education—Rebuild Ontario, a platform outlining the Federation’s vision for publicly-funded education in Ontario in a post-pandemic world and beyond.
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News & Reports
June 27, 2021
With Mississauga, Brampton, and Ontario schools to reopen in September, opposition parties lay out demands.
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News & Reports
June 28, 2021
Public education to suffer if teachers forced to teach 'hybrid' classes this fall, unions say.
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News & Reports
July 8, 2021
A new survey led by The Hospital for Sick Children shows more than half of children and youth reported clinically significant depressive symptoms during the second wave of COVID-19 in Ontario.
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News & Reports
July 19, 2021
SickKids in Toronto, CHEO in Ottawa, and the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table release report on back to school return.
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News & Reports
August 3, 2021
The provincial government outlines COVID-19 guidance for all schools in an effort to restore in-person classes at all boards.
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Public Advocacy
August 4, 2021
Ontario’s unions respond to Ford government’s inadequate back-to-school plan.
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News & Reports
September 9, 2021
As students at the last major school board head back to class, Minister Lecce says the province’s top public health doctor believes the improvements in ventilation and other public health measures will ensure schools stay open year-round for the benefit of children’s mental and physical health.
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News & Reports
October 4, 2021
Critics say Ford's throne speech abandoned education.
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News & Reports
October 28, 2021
Ontario says it is expanding its COVID-19 testing options for students and staff at the province's 4,800 schools as well as increasing rapid testing requirements for unvaccinated staff.
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News & Reports
November 18, 2021
Ontario to allow normal high school semesters; 11 million rapid COVID-19 tests to be offered to elementary and secondary students for holidays.
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News & Reports
December 15, 2021
Some Ontario school boards advise parents to prepare for a pivot to remote learning in January — just in case —and to ensure their children take home personal belongings and any necessary learning resources before the winter break.
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News & Reports
December 17, 2021
In order to keep schools open, the Ontario government should give COVID-19 rapid tests to teachers and education staff as well as students — for the holidays and beyond — hold in-school vaccination clinics and provide free N95 masks, the NDP education critic says.
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Public Advocacy
December 30, 2021
Statement released from unions and associations representing Ontario teachers and education workers regarding return to class following 2021-2022 winter break.
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News & Reports
January 3, 2022
The Ontario government issues several new COVID-19 public health measures that includes moving schools online, closures and capacity limits for businesses as the province struggles to contain the spread of Omicron.
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News & Reports
January 4, 2022
Parents and educators in Ontario express frustration after the provincial government's last-minute decision to shift school to online learning for at least two weeks.
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Public Advocacy
January 11, 2022
Joint statement is released by some of Ontario’s education unions regarding the government’s decision to move forward with reopening schools on January 17
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News & Reports
January 19, 2022
Students across Ontario head back to the classroom after a long break from in-person learning. An Omicron-filled surge in COVID-19 cases forced students into online learning for what, in some ways, turned into a two-week extension of Christmas break.
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News & Reports
January 20, 2022
Students across Ontario head back to the classroom after a long break from in-person learning. An Omicron-filled surge in COVID-19 cases forced students into online learning for what, in some ways, turned into a two-week extension of Christmas break.
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News & Reports
March 2, 2022
FAO releases report showing the Ontario government underspent in the education sector by over $600 million over the first three quarters of the 2021-22 fiscal year
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