|TORONTO — Today, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement to encourage school boards to proceed with celebrations of student achievement subject to health and safety limitations during the COVID-19 outbreak:
“Students have worked incredibly hard this school year, and we know that the COVID-19 outbreak has forced some schools to cancel or delay important milestones to recognize student achievement, such as prom and graduation ceremonies.
Although we are making great efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario, it may still be some time before schools and boards are able to offer the kinds of ceremonies and traditions in the same way they have in previous years.
I spoke directly to many graduating students and their parents. Their stories have moved me to act. I firmly believe Ontario students deserve this positive conclusion to their academic journey, even if ceremonies are delayed.
Despite this uncertainty, I am encouraging boards to reschedule these events based on input from local medical officers of health. In some cases, this might mean facilitating graduation ceremonies and proms during the summer or fall when it is safe to do so.
These are important events for all students and their families. While students in Ontario have been incredibly flexible and eager in the transition to Learn at Home, we know that the support of their parents and guardians has been critical in rapidly shifting toward a newer model of learning. Students and parents deserve to celebrate many of these critical milestones — especially graduation ceremonies — and I expect boards to preserve these opportunities to proudly recognize the incredible success and achievement resulting from the hard work of our students.”