Doug Ford was supposed to announce the status of Ontario’s post-secondary institutions reopening strategy but was unable to attend as he and Minister of Health Christine Elliott are being tested for COVID-19 after Education Minister Stephen Lecce came into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
The government spokesperson who relayed the details has also confirmed that Lecce has been tested and the results have come back negative.
In a statement released today, Lecce has said that he has been in isolation and working from home ever since he was notified that he came into contact with the person who tested positive.
“Yesterday I was notified I have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19,” Lecce said in a statement. “I have been tested and I’ve been in isolation since, working from home,” said the Education Minister.
The full statement can be found on the Education Minister’s twitter post:
Despite testing negative, Elliott and Ford will still undergo a test for the virus.
“Both will continue to monitor for symptoms and take appropriate action as necessary,” a spokesperson for the government said.
The premier’s office has said that the public will be notified about their status once the results have been received.
In the absence of the premier and Minister of health, Ross Romano, the Minister of Colleges and Universities, announced the reopening framework for the post-secondary institutions in their place, and also admitted that he had only learned about the situation minutes before the beginning of the event.
“I certainly can’t speak to what anybody else is thinking. I can tell you that I know our premier is acting out of an extreme amount of caution and he wants to ensure that everybody here on the premise of Queen’s Park is safe,” Romano said.
Ontario’s post-secondary school reopening plan details
Details related to the post-secondary reopening plan were addressed by Romano and in a news release issued today.
According to the province, “limited in-person education and training” would restart for “academically stranded” students who were ineligible for graduation due to COVID-19 related closures. That training begins on July 2.
“These students in areas such as nursing, PSWs [personal support workers], engineering students and many, many different trades programs — these individuals could be working today helping in Ontario’s economic recovery but for the fact that they must complete a mere matter of hours, in some cases, of in-person learning,” said the Minister of Colleges and Universities.
Romano told reporters that approximately 10,000 post-secondary students will be eligible to participate in the program and that the program will last for a maximum of eight weeks ending around the beginning of September.
“This first phase will allow institutions to reopen to provide in-person instruction to students in essential, frontline, and high labour market demand areas, such as nursing, professional support workers, engineering, and other critical professions. Thousands of students across the province could benefit from this summer’s reopening,” the province said in the news release.
According to Romano, the plan was developed with consultation provided by Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams and the post-secondary institutions to ensure that the health and safety of the students were maintained.
“We worked together with our sector through numerous consultations and discussions with presidents (of post-secondary institutions) coming up with several health and safety protocols that we believe the sector can follow and that would ensure the health and safety of every person who would attend,” Romano said.
Also, Romano said that a partial summer reopening for post-secondary institutions would be beneficial for fall term preparation by making sure the health and safety protocols are ready when the time comes.
In September, all students will also have the opportunity to attend post-secondary education through various means, such as virtual learning, in-class instruction, or hybrid formats.
Ontario COVID-19 stats as of June 10
New cases reported today: 251
New deaths reported today: 11
Confirmed cases: 31,341
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