Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce is bracing parents for the new normal on what would have been the first day back to class after March break.

He issued an open letter last night saying that the government is looking at ways to keep coursework going if the COVID-19 pandemic prevents classes from resuming on April 6 as planned.

Lecce announced earlier this month that the province’s publicly funded elementary and secondary schools would shutter for two additional weeks following March break.

Now he says that it’s possible students will have to continue their classes online during the global outbreak.

The province has already created an online learning portal to help prevent students from falling behind, and is looking at expanding online courses.

Lecce also says he’s making sure that students on track to graduate won’t be thwarted by the novel coronavirus.

He says he’s removed the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test as a requirement for graduation, and is working with his counterparts in the ministries of colleges and universities and labour to ensure students will be able to apply for post-secondary education as usual.

He’s also urging parents to talk openly with their kids about the pandemic and acknowledge how emotionally difficult it can be to see things change so drastically.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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