WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor-Essex students have already been doing remote learning this week, but Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce told all school board chairs to encourage staff and students to bring essential learning materials home over the holidays.

In a memo sent Wednesday, Lecce said that the precaution would help the education system be ready for "all scenarios."

“We encourage boards to continue to ensure that students and families are provided the resources required to successfully participate in remote learning, including ensuring the availability of remote learning devices for all students,” said the memo.

“We are recommending that boards encourage students and staff to take home any materials that they may require for remote learning before they leave school for the holiday period so that we can continue to be ready for all scenarios.”

Students in Windsor-Essex County have been learning from home this week, after WECHU medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed closed schools to students one week before the holidays.

Teachers and students with both the Greater Essex County District School Board and Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board were told in advance to take home any learning materials as a precaution.Tecumseh student

“I think we’ve taken out 12,00 devices we’ve distributed so people were well prepared. I think our teachers have done an excellent job of pivoting quickly,” says Erin Kelly, director of education GECDSB.

Kelly says most students were able to get their materials out, but they can still contact their schools should they have any concerns.

“We’ll do our very best. We’ve been through this before but I think we’re more prepared this time certainly,” Kelly tells CTV Windsor.

The group representing local public elementary teachers say teachers would prefer to be in the classroom, but are respecting the guidelines from public health officials.

“This was a really difficult pivot. A lot of on the spot learning for both teacher and students and for parents,” says local ETFO president Mario Spagnuolo.

He believes the Ford government is still lacking a concrete plan for teachers and students.

“They should have responded to the concerns of parents and teachers and principals and school boards that were trying to advocate for improvement behind the scenes and they never did.”

Once the holiday break is over, classes are scheduled to resume Jan. 4. In Windsor-Essex, Ahmed said he could issue an extension of the closure order, depending on what the COVID-19 situation is like in the region.