BREAKING: Public schools to stay closed for limited-time after March Break

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The province just announced that, in light of the coronavirus outbreak, public schools will remain closed for two weeks after March Break. 

Today Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, made the announcement.

"Since we first learned of COVID-19 as an emerging public health issue, Ontario has been diligently monitoring the developing situation to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.  We have also taken decisive action to ensure the province’s health care system is positioned to be ready for any scenario," the province said in a statement. 

The province says that based on advice from Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the experts at the COVID-19 Command Table, Lecce has issued a Ministerial Order to close all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March Break.

The order was approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

This means that Ontario schools will be closed from March 14 through to April 5, 2020.

"We recognize the significant impact this decision will have on families, students, schools, as well as the broader community, but this precaution is necessary to keep people safe," the province said. 

The province says it has taken a number of steps to curb the spread of COVID-19, including moving forward with additional public health measures such as enhanced access to screening, expanding lab-testing capacity, and implementing new initiatives to keep the public and frontline workers safe. 

The province says it is setting aside up to $100 million in contingency funding in the upcoming 2020 budget to address challenges related to COVID-19.

The federal government has also pledged $1 billion to support the country through the pandemic. 

"We are further mindful of those who work in other public institutions and buildings. As this situation evolves, Ontario’s COVID-19 Command Table is prepared to respond quickly and effectively to any scenario and provide the government with advice on measures to keep the public and frontline workers safe," the province said. 

"We are committed to working with partners to keep students safe and we expect to provide further information in the near future."

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