Niagara Region Health’s top doc butts heads with Ontario top doc over school safety measures


Published January 20, 2022 at 3:13 pm

Niagara Region Health acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji, left, has run afoul of Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore by insistingon more stringent measures in the classrooms than the province is currently asking for. (Photo: Twitter)

Last Friday (January 14), Niagara Region’s acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mustafa Hirji sent the region’s school boards stringent classroom measures for further protecting area students.

By Sunday (January 16), his initiatives provoked a strong rebuttal in a letter from Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, who basically said Hirji was taking safety measures too far.

However, the region’s top doctor isn’t budging from his stance. The main point of  contention is Hirji’s insistence that any classroom showing more than 800 parts per million of carbon dioxide receive a HEPA filter, which is considered the most highly effective air filtration system.

Moore shot back that the province wasn’t aware of any correlation between CO2 levels and viral transmission, despite the fact that scientific journals have document it as an accurate assessment tool for COVID-19 exposure.

Other Hirji recommendations that stuck in Moore’s craw included principals continuing to document COVID-19 cases within their classes (something the province dropped at Christmas Break) and that classes be sent home for isolation for a week should COVID-19 cases be discovered (also recently dropped by the province.)

Yet another one where Hirji and Moore butt heads was the Niagara doctor’s insistence that any students not wearing a face mask in class produce doctors’ notes explaining the medical reason that prevents them from doing so.

While Hirji may not have a fan in Moore, NDP leader Andrea Horwath expressed appreciation that the Niagara doctors was putting children’s safety ahead of provincial dictates.

For his parts, Moore said he wanted school boards to be united with “consistent and persistent messaging across Ontario.”

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