Halton pleads with Province to keep schools open as pandemic continues

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Published September 21, 2021 at 2:15 pm

Drivers are reminded to obey school zone rules and school buses as kids head back to the classroom next week.

Halton Regional Council has brought a motion forward asking the Province to ensure schools will be last to close during any future pandemic-related response.

The motion was moved by Ward 6 Oakville Regional Councillor Tom Adams and seconded by Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. The resolution passed after some deliberation on diction and semantics.

The resolution asks the Province to aim its efforts towards reducing community contacts rather than closing educational institutions.

According to Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hamidah Meghani, schools–which can be considered higher-risk environments because they allow unvaccinated individuals to interact indoors–can operate safely.

“[Schools] definitely could be seen as a gathering place for a group of unvaccinated individuals. There are many measures that are occurring in the school setting. As I mentioned earlier, we talked about cooperating and not interacting with various courts to try and limit any spread that may occur in the school setting, masking and as much physical distancing as possible in our school settings. So those are some of the measures that are currently in place. And we also have, when there is a case, in a school, we react very promptly in dismissing that classroom,” she said.

“Of course, this is going to be a little bit different this year, because we do have a portion of our school-age children who are vaccinated. We’ll be working closely with the school on ensuring that we are able to verify vaccination status and send back children to school if they’re fully vaccinated. But for the younger ones, for said that not is not going to be possible, so we are limiting the spread to other classroom situations. So, our hope is that we are in a position where we’re only having to dismiss classes, you know, individual classrooms, and not having to close down a particular school for from a public health perspective.”

The resolution can be found here.

 

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