Youth aged 12 and over are now eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, as well as at select pharmacies administering the Pfizer vaccine.
Ford sought advice on the matter last week and has spent the past few days coming up with his decision. "Making this tough decision now will allow kids to safely enjoy camps and outdoor activities this summer, and a safe return to school in September".
Schools across the province moved learning online in mid-April amid an escalating third wave of the virus.
Ontario's top doctor and other local medical officials also said they supported reopening schools.More news: Two Dead, over 20 Injured, After 3 Gunmen Open Fire in Florida
The decision on schools comes as the provincial stay-at-home order is lifted, allowing for residents to leave the house for non-essential reasons with other pandemic restrictions still in effect.
Ford added that the COVID-19 variant B.1.617.2 first discovered in India is starting to spread in parts of Ontario.
Last Thursday, Ford sent an open letter to hospitals, health units, and teachers unions asking for their input on reopening schools.
"The experts couldn't tell us that returning to in-class learning before teachers and students are vaccinated won't lead to an increase in thousands and thousands of new cases", Ford said during a press conference. "Youth aged 12 and over are now eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, as well as at select pharmacies administering the Pfizer vaccine", said the government. In addition, the province is encouraging eligible family members who have not received a vaccine to attend these clinics to get youth and their families vaccinated as quickly as possible.More news: Belarus: Foreign Secretary welcomes ICAO fact-finding mission into diverted flight
"COVID-19 has taken a significant toll on everyone in Ontario", said Premier Ford.
There are roughly three weeks left in the current school year.
"I want schools to host in-person outdoor graduation events and other opportunities for you to meet with your friends and reconnect outside before the end of the year", he said.
"The Chief Medical Officer of Health has advised the people of Ontario - and when repeatedly asked about the safety of schools, transmission schools - have suggested that the protections we put in place has kept students and staff safe", Lecce said. Before and after school programs are closed and licensed child care centres may resume serving school-aged children for full-day programming in the summer.More news: Facebook Reverses Course, Won't Ban Lab Virus Theory