Toronto’s medical officer of health is invoking powers under Ontario law to order all local schools closed for in-person instruction due to rising COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, who oversees the public health department in Toronto, issued a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to order schools closed as of Wednesday.
Schools in Toronto will move to online learning until at least April 18. However, April break was pre-scheduled for the week of April 12 and schools were not scheduled to be in session.
Section 22 orders allow medical officers of health to put in place requirements aimed at slowing the spread of communicable diseases.
The move came a day after Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region’s medical officer of health, ordered schools to close until April 18.
On Tuesday, de Villa and Toronto Public Health opted not to enact similar measures.
“[Toronto Public Health] will continue to manage risk on a school-by-school basis, taking immediate and appropriate action to address these complex outbreaks,” a statement issued by the department on Monday said.
“This decision will be revisited on a daily basis, and further recommendations may be made in the near future in partnership with our local school boards and the province.”
The Ontario government reported more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, which is in line with the elevated case numbers seen in recent days as the province grapples with a third wave of the virus.