Economy

Ford pens letter to doctors and educators asking whether schools should reopen

Ford pens letter to doctors and educators asking whether schools should reopen”

Williams has been outspoken about his desire to reopen schools for the better part of a week but Premier Doug Ford has yet to commit to doing so before the end of the academic year. Vera Etches was one of the medical experts asked to provide feedback on the possible return of in-person learning.

Ford, however, says in his letter that schools were actually the source of "of more outbreaks than workplaces or any other location" in April.

Dr. Karim Kurji, the region's medical officer of health, said in a letter to Ford that the benefits of in-person learning far outweigh the risks of COVID-19 infection, especially with the lower incidence rates in York and their aggressive immunization effort.

Dr. Etches said her colleagues across the province are looking at a "collective response" to Premier Ford's letter, "that puts forward our rationale to support children's health by having schools open".

The OPSBA says that should a decision be made to reopen schools, "it is essential that school boards be provided with sufficient notice to enable a smooth transition back to in-person learning".

It pointed out more recent variants of the original virus have surged elsewhere and are making children sicker, are potentially more deadly and are more resistant to vaccines and also acknowledged that the most vulnerable students in Ontario have been hit hardest.

Ford did address the school situation during his remarks. "We have reached a tipping point, we have a second public health crisis that has happened and we have to pivot and deal with this second public health crisis now".

Ottawa's medical officer of health is hoping students return to the classroom at schools across the city next week after six weeks of online learning.

More news: Vaxxed woman in Cyprus dies from blood clot

To that end, he said that only the Porcupine Public Health Unit in northern Ontario has ruled out a return to the classroom due to a spike in cases in Timmins.

"What makes all this new information concerning is that ... only 41 per cent of teachers and education workers are vaccinated compared to 62 per cent of the general adult population in Ontario", Ford wrote. "At the same time, our top priority is to ensure any decision we make on school reopening is based on sound scientific advice, consensus and considers potential or future risks faced by students and staff". In it, they expressed their support for the reopening of schools.

He cites the modelling released last week by Dr. Steini Brown, the head of the Ontario Science Table, saying that if schools resume, cases could increase by between 6% and 11%.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, wrote a letter to Premier Doug Ford Friday stating that she would prefer the return of in-person learning before other COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Other countries are warning mutations including the B.1.617 variant are putting children at much greater risk and are shutting schools down.

Vaccination rates in Ontario are now in excess of 65 per cent, beyond where the province said they needed to be for step one of the reopening plan to kick in.

The Toronto District School Board said it hadn't heard from the government about resuming in-person learning as of Wednesday, but schools would be prepared to reopen.



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