Ontario is considering keeping schools closed until September
Ontario is seriously considering keeping schools in the province closed until September. Apparently, the government’s planning and priorities committee decided on Monday not to reopen schools for the rest of June. This goes against the recommendations of the Ontario Science Advisory Table, local medical officers of health, and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams. The government of Ontario still has to ratify the decision, and it could still change it in the coming days.
Moreover, the authorities remain concerned schools could exacerbate transmission in high-risk zones. It’s uncertain when the provincial administration will make a final decision announcement. Nonetheless, Health Minister Christine Elliott stated that they are taking ‘very seriously’ the issue of reopening schools. Elliot has already written dozens of experts and education sector unions for advice. “They are taking time to review the information they received back to be able to make a decision that is going to be in the best interest of Ontarians and as safe for all children”, she stated.
Dr. Williams, meanwhile, is strongly advocating for a gradual reopening during the summer. “My position has been always, like our public health measures table and our medical officers of health, that feel that schools should be the last to close and the first to open. Ideally, I’d like the schools open before we enter Step 1 of our exit strategy,” he concluded. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also stated the indecision regarding schools had been going on “too long”. However, she said, Ford “didn’t want to make the investment”.
As cases continue to drop, Ontario is looking to launch a reopening plan similar to the Albertan one. It remains to be seen if the coming summer won’t see a new wave given the new coronavirus variants emerging around the globe.