Public Health officials instruct schools to continue online learning until Jan. 24, 2021

Posted January 7, 2021

January 7, 2021

On Thursday Jan. 7, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Nicola Mercer, provided a letter of instruction to school boards within the WDGPH jurisdiction, as a result of concern over the increased spread of COVID-19 cases in the community over the holiday break. 

The instructions state that online learning is to continue for all schools within the geography of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health until at least Jan. 24, 2021. 

This means that UGDSB elementary students will continue with online learning for an additional two weeks, until at least Jan. 24, rather than return to in-person learning on Jan. 11 as previously communicated. Secondary students will continue with online learning until at least Jan. 24. Public Health will evaluate these instructions on an ongoing basis to determine when schools can be re-opened to students for in-person learning.

Also on Jan. 7, provincial health officials announced that schools in southern Ontario that were originally scheduled to resume in-person instruction on Jan. 11 will continue online learning for an additional two weeks. 

During this online learning period, UGDSB specialized classes for students with developmental disabilities (DD Classes) in elementary and secondary schools will remain open for in-person learning for those students. Transportation will continue for those students. 

Teachers will continue to communicate directly with their students/families and will continue to provide regular schedules and daily instruction. If you have questions specific to your child and online learning, please contact your child’s teacher or principal directly. 

Child Care and Before/After School Programs

During this extended period of online learning, all Child Care Centres (ages 0-3.8) connected to UGDSB elementary schools will remain open. Before and After School Programs will remain closed.

The Ministry of Education has implemented targeted Emergency Child Care (ECC) for School-Aged Children at no cost to eligible parents. A list of individuals eligible for Emergency Child Care can be found here. To inquire about eligibility or apply for emergency child care for the week of Jan 4-8, please contact the following based on where you live:

Mental Health and Well-Being

We know that COVID-19 continues to impact families, children, youth and the greater community. Here are some tips for managing stress during these times:

  • Stay informed: It is important to stay informed and up to date on information but equally important to minimize over-exposure to the media. Choose one or two reputable sources such as the UGDSB board website (, or the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health website ( where you can find clear and evidence based information. 
  • Establish a routine: Create a schedule for your household and/or yourself to the best of your ability. Look at wake up times, eating times, bed times, etc. 
  • Stay connected: As the provincial lockdown continues, remember to keep up your connections as best you can. If you don’t have a lot of connections, reach out to organizations in your community to find support (see below for resources).
  • Get outside if you can: Try to get outside and breathe in some fresh air.  Stand outside your door, on a porch or balcony, go for a walk. Make it a family activity so you are boosting your wellness through exercise and fresh air but also through connection.
  • Reach out: There is no question that these are extraordinary times.  Ask for help. Call a support line. It’s okay to need support.
    • Guelph/Wellington: 1 844 437 3247 (HERE247)
    • Dufferin: 519 941 1530 (DCAFS)
    • KidsHelpPhone: 1 800 668 6868 or text CONNECT to 686868

We thank you for your understanding and cooperation. 

Categories: News