OTTAWA -- Ottawa’s publicly-funded schools will remain closed until the end of June, but the Ottawa Carleton District School Board is urging students to continue to learn at home.

The Ontario Government announced Tuesday that schools will remain closed until September due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have been closed since March 13 in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Premier Doug Ford told reporters that “after careful consideration, after consulting with the health experts, it is clear: We cannot open schools at this time. I’m just not going to risk it.”

In a letter to parents and students, OCDSB Director of Education Camille Williams-Taylor says, “While we would love to connect with students in person, the health and safety of students and staff remains our highest priority.”

Schools will continue the Learn at Home program for the balance of the school year.  The Ministry of Education set out regulations for hours of learning per week, and the areas of focus for students.

“Students are encouraged to participate in these activities to expand learning and improve marks,” said Williams-Taylor.

“If your child has questions or is experiencing any challenges with participation, please speak with the teacher.”

Williams-Taylor tells parents and students the board is still gathering information on end of year transitions and collecting students belongings from schools.

In April, Ontario cancelled final exams for high school students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The OCDSB said all high school students will have a baseline mark based on school work completed by March 13, and they can only improve their grades by completing assignments and tasks.