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Coronavirus: More Ontario schools reopen to in-person learning

Click to play video: 'Durham students return to in-person learning' Durham students return to in-person learning
WATCH ABOVE: Thousands of students in Durham returned to the classroom Monday. Many say this decision is welcome news for both parents and children. Brittany Rosen has more. – Feb 8, 2021

TORONTO — More of Ontario’s schools reopened to in-person learning Monday, with students in 13 public health units returning to physical classrooms.

Students in Hamilton and Windsor were among those heading back to school, but in three COVID-19 hot spots — Toronto, Peel Region and York Region — schools will remain closed to in-person learning until Feb. 16.

All students in Ontario began January with online learning as part of a provincial lockdown.

Read more: Coronavirus: Schools in Toronto, Peel and York Regions last for return to in-person learning

The province then took a staggered approach to reopening schools, allowing those in northern Ontario and rural areas to resume in-person learning first.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said the government is taking a number of steps to enhance safety in schools, such as more stringent screening for high schoolers and asymptomatic testing across the province.

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Lecce has also said the government is mulling cancelling March break in a bid to reign in COVID-19 infections. He’s said Canadians should avoid travel given the emergence of new variants of the virus.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Ontario to reopen remaining shuttered schools for in-person learning in February' Coronavirus: Ontario to reopen remaining shuttered schools for in-person learning in February
Coronavirus: Ontario to reopen remaining shuttered schools for in-person learning in February – Feb 3, 2021

NDP Opposition leader Andrea Horwath called on Monday for March break to go ahead as planned, saying it’s important for the mental and emotional health of parents, educators and students.

“What we’re calling on Doug Ford to do is to provide clarity around that sooner rather than later,” Horwath said.

Horwath also repeated calls for heightened safety measures in schools, including widespread COVID-19 testing, smaller class sizes and better ventilation.

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