Peel Region medical officer of health to close schools for two weeks

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 6, 2021

The Ontario government has said schools should remain open as they're important to the students' mental health.

Dr. Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health for TPH, said in an email on Monday night that the decision to close a school is based on safety concerns. "With increasing case counts and the presence of variants of concern, we need to break chains of transmission and keep our schools safe".

"Unfortunately, current circumstances require that hard decisions must be taken locally to protect all those in our school communities, including students, teachers and staff".

As for the Peel school closure, students will stay home for at least two weeks.

Peel Region schools will be closed as of Tuesday, the Sun has learned.

The chief medical officer for Peel Region, which also includes the town of Caledon, ordered its schools closed until April 18 on Monday, with camps due to run during next week's delayed break also cancelled. "I know this will be challenging for parents to navigate and we appreciate all the sacrifices parents continue to make as we continue to fight COVID-19 in our community". Decisions on whether to extend the order "will be made, as required", Peel Public Health said. TPH will continue to manage risk on a school-by-school basis, taking immediate and appropriate action to address these complex outbreaks.

According to Dubey, TPH recommends to parents that students can attend school if they pass a screening questionnaire, but they should not gather with others, even those in their class outside of the classroom, and they should keep six feet or two metres apart from people with whom they do not live.

Toronto Public Health says it has recommended the closing of 22 schools across the city starting on Tuesday due to COVID-19 investigations.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce's office assured Ontarians that "schools remain safe with strong public health measures in place that have kept almost 99 per cent of schools in Ontario open".

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association have also asked for schools in virus hot spots to move classes online until teachers can be vaccinated.

As of April 1, 63 Ontario schools were closed due to COVID-19, with 1,240 schools now reporting at least one case.

"The Ford government's shutdown announcement did nothing to assure Ontarians that it has their best interests at heart. Instead, it left many feeling abandoned, frightened, and unsure about the future", ETFO President Sam Hammond said in a release.

"We remain grateful to staff, students and families who have taken extraordinary efforts to change their routines and carry out collective actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our school communities safe", said Colleen Russell-Rawlins, director of education at the Peel District School Board, one of the country's largest with more than 154,000 kindergarten to Grade 12 students at 246 schools.

"Failure to do so, with so many available vaccines sitting in freezers, is negligent and unsafe", Hammond said.

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