Ontario education minister asks schools not to cancel graduations and proms
TORONTO -- Ontario’s minister of education is asking school boards not to cancel graduation and proms, but rather host them in the summer or fall when it is “safe to do so.”
Stephen Lecce issued a statement Monday morning saying that he has heard from parents and students who want their achievements celebrated.
“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,” Lecce said.
Publicly-funded schools in Ontario were closed following March Break in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. While other provinces have cancelled in-person classes for the remainder of the year, the Progressive Conservative government in Ontario has not yet made the commitment.
The premier said on the weekend that a decision on whether schools will reopen at all this academic year is expected early next week.
The Ministry of Education has previously told CTV News Toronto that the decision on graduation ceremonies has been left up to the individual school boards.
On Monday, Lecce said that “it may still be some time” before graduation ceremonies can be held, but that students deserve to celebrate the end of their academic term.
"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,” he said.
“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.”
While schools have been closed, students have been encouraged to use a number of online learning tools to continue their studies. Lecce has previously said that students will graduate with their report cards no matter what happens.