RENFREW -- Students in Renfrew County will return to school for in-person learning on Monday.

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit is one of seven health units across the province where students will resume in-class learning, mostly in Eastern Ontario and other rural areas. The city of Ottawa is one of the regions that won't return to class on Jan. 25 and will need to await word on when schools will re-open. 

"I think we’re in a position to open these schools. We certainly lobbied for it," said Dr. Robert Cushman, Renfrew County's Acting Medical Officer of Health. "School board wants to get back, the teachers, everybody wants to get back. This is important and these kids have suffered enough."

The Renfrew County and District School Board said in a letter to parents that RCDSB students who resides in a public health unit region that remains under closure, like Ottawa, are allowed to return to school. It also said that busing will resume as usual on Monday morning. 

The Board also reminded parents to complete daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms for students. 

"These kids need to go back to school. They need it for their education, they need it for their mental health, their social lives," said Dr. Cushman. "And not only that, the parents of so many students are working parents so this is a driver of the economy.”

The provincial lockdown, which began on Dec. 26, delayed the Jan. 4 holiday break resumption for elementary students by one week. However, rising COVID cases across much of the province pushed all but seven northern school boards to extend the closure.