Students in Mississauga, Brampton likely to finish the school year from home

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Health indicators suggest students in Mississauga and Brampton should not be returning to in-person classrooms to finish off this school year.

All students across Peel Region are currently carrying out their studies remotely since Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh sent them home on April 6 over the continuing concerns of the spread of COVID-19.

That order was only supposed to last two weeks but Ontario Premier Doug Ford subsequently decided to indefinitely shut schools across the province over the same virus concerns.

Speaking to reporters today, Dr. Loh said even though it is preferable to get students back into an in-person setting, he believes now is not the time.

"The trends haven't gotten to the point where we can say definitively that it safe to do so," he said adding that whether it is June or sometime in the Fall all the health factors and risks of opening the school system need to be considered.

Dr. Loh went on to say health trends are continually monitored and although the stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 20, the situation at hospitals provides a good indication of where the community currently stands with COVID-19.

He said hospitals such as Brampton Civic are still at capacity levels, have a significant number of patients that remain in intensive care units, that surgeries are still not scheduled, and the transfer of patients to other hospitals continues.

"So I think a broader re-opening of the community would mean increased cases and again that would add more pressure to the hospital system" he said, "so I think a re-opening would be premature at this time."

Dr. Loh added that in-person learning is still the best scenario for students to help with their well-being, mental health and development and socialization and that schools should always be the last to close and the first to re-open under these type of circumstances

"But when it is safe to do," he said.

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