Students in Guelph and Wellington County will not be returning to school next week.
Both Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health made that announcement on Wednesday.
“I know everyone wants schools open for in-person learning as soon as it is safe,” said Dr. Mercer, medical officer of health.
“Teachers and parents are keenly aware of the value our children get from being able to gather together with their teachers and classmates and the pressure that remote learning places on educators and families. I share these sentiments.”
Schools in seven public health units in southern Ontario, including Kingston and Peterborough, can reopen on Monday, while the rest will continue teaching online.
The province did not give any indication as to when those students might return to the classroom.
But public health said schools would be closed until at least Feb. 1 but that will be “evaluated on an ongoing basis to determine when schools can safely be re-opened.”
In late December, the government announced that all schools would be closed to in-person learning for the first week after the holiday.
That closure was later extended to Jan. 25 for all schools in southern Ontario while students in northern Ontario returned to physical classrooms on Jan. 11.
“Cases are declining in the region,” said Dr. Mercer.
“We are doing the difficult work of bringing COVID back down to levels where we can safely reopen schools, but we are simply not there yet.”
— With files from The Canadian Press