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Coronavirus: Ontario government asks school boards to consider starting upcoming academic year earlier

Coronavirus: Are Ontario schools ready to re-open?
WATCH ABOVE: Former Ontario Deputy Minister of Education Charles Pascal shares his insight on the province’s plan to re-open schools this September amid the coronavirus pandemic. (June 22)

The Ontario government has asked the province’s school boards to consider starting the upcoming academic year a little bit earlier than normal as planning for reopening facilities during the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“In order to maximize instruction time for students, school boards and school authorities are encouraged to start their school year by Sept. 1,” a recent memo obtained by Global News from Education Minister Stephen Lecce said.

“It is also advised that boards schedule three PA days prior to the start of student instruction. There are consultations currently underway with the sector’s stakeholders on PA days and training that may be necessary to prepare for the reopening of school.”

Read more: 3 reopening plans for Ontario schools being considered, some online learning expected to continue

According to the memo, it was issued as a guideline and noted firm decisions haven’t been made yet. Traditionally the academic year for many school boards starts the day after Labour Day, which falls a bit later this year (Sept. 8).

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Under provincial legislation, regular academic years are to begin as early as Sept. 1 and end at the latest on June 30. There must be a minimum of 194 school days with a minimum of three professional activity (P.A.) days.

Approval of school board calendars by the Ontario government will happen later in July.

— With files from Travis Dhanraj