Over the weekend, Ontario’s Education Minister released a message detailing how the province will be following the updated advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health this new year.

Stephen Lecce’s message, sent January 2nd, highlighted new restrictions added before Christmas with elementary and secondary school students across the province learning remotely for the first week of January.

All elementary school students will return to class on January 11th, along with secondary school students only in northern Public Health Units.

The remaining secondary school students will return to class on January 25th, while elementary and secondary students currently enrolled in remote learning will continue learning remotely throughout January.

Lecce message also detailed all the support programs and their deadlines available over the next months.

He started with the Support for Learners program which is set to deliver nearly $800 million in direct financial relief to parents and guardians. The program supports families with children aged 0 to 12 with $200 per child and $250 per child up to age 21 with special education needs. With the deadline to apply for this for this one-time financial support being extended to February 8th.

And starting January 11th, families with students aged 13 to grade 12 can apply for a one-time payment for their children up until February 8th. The expanded program now covers $200 for each child up to grade 12, including students in secondary school who are over 18; and $250 if the child or youth is 21 years or under with special needs.

Ontario will also be implementing a targeted emergency child care program for frontline health and emergency workers with school-aged children that may require support, at no cost to eligible parents, from January 4th to the 8th.

Lecce also gave an update on cases in Ontario’s schools with eight out of ten schools in the province having no cases of COVID-19 and 99.64 percent of students having not reported a case of COVID-19.