The decision was made based on advice from Williams and the unanimous recommendations of the Council of Medical Officers of Health.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says returning kids to school safely is crucial for their development and mental health. The emergency child care service for essential workers is over as of Friday.
Schools in northern Ontario reopened on January 11 while 11 other public health units in southern Ontario reopened in the past few weeks.
The province delayed the remaining southern Ontario regions, including Simcoe Muskoka.
Ontario schools are set to open across the province on Monday, February 8, with schools in Toronto, Peel and York opening the following week on February 16, after Family Day.
"With that in mind, we must do all that is required to ensure our schools are as safe as possible for the return of students".
"Our collective efforts, like strictly adhering to all public health measures, in addition to the enhanced safety measures in schools, will help keep communities healthy and students learning alongside their peers in their classrooms", he continued.
Dr. Williams also reassured parents by referencing the recent reopening of schools in other, Northern regions of Ontario. The province-wide lockdown was issued on December 26 and is scheduled to expire on February 11, if it's not extended.
Ontario reported its lowest COVID-19 positivity rate in months as the province added more than 1,500 new cases and 88 deaths related to the disease.
There is now a total of 273,660 confirmed cases in the province since the onset of the pandemic with 6,393 deaths.
"If things change we won't hesitate to change course", he said.