Hamilton’s McMaster Children’s Hospital calls for open schools during 5th COVID-19 wave


Published December 31, 2021 at 10:49 am

The Children’s Health Coalition, which includes McMaster Children's Hospital, is calling for schools to remain open despite the fifth wave of COVID-19.

The Children’s Health Coalition, which includes McMaster Children’s Hospital, is calling for schools to remain open despite the fifth wave of COVID-19.

“As leaders in children’s health, we agree schools must be prioritized as essential during this fifth wave and we welcome the government’s commitment to in-person learning,” reads the official statement.

The coalition says parents and children have faced enormous challenges through the pandemic and Omicron is adding new stresses and unknowns.

“In the face of these unknowns, families deserve to know all steps are being taken to ensure schools are as safe as possible and on balance are the best place for children’s health and wellbeing,” said the coalition.

“Just as we work to ensure essential services such as hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies and public transit remain open, we must do all we can to keep schools open.”

The group believes that keeping schools open is essential for the mental, physical, and developmental health of children and youth.

Hamilton adds nearly 1,000 COVID-19 cases as Ontario sets new daily record

The government announced Thursday (Dec. 30) that additional health measures would be implemented in schools, including updated and expanding screening, distribution of higher quality masks for teachers and students, maintaining access to PCR testing, increased ventilation, and pausing high contact extracurriculars.

“In addition, capacity limits, restrictions on gatherings and other public health measures are an essential part of any strategy to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in both communities and schools,” said the coalition. “We are asking everyone to step up for kids—not only the teachers and education staff who are working so very hard to support children and youth.”

The group added that the pandemic is dynamic and requires close local monitoring and responsiveness.

“Parents, teachers and students may still have to pivot quickly, including responding to staff shortages,” they added. “But with risk everywhere in a pandemic, we believe that schools must be supported to be as safe as possible and maintained as essential for children and youth.”

The Children’s Health Coalition is a collective of children’s health organizations, including CHEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, SickKids, Kids Health Alliance, McMaster Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital – London Health Sciences Centre, Children’s Mental Health Ontario, and Empowered Kids Ontario.

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