Ontario nurses support cancelling in-person learning for Mississauga, Brampton, and Ontario students this year


Published June 3, 2021 at 8:20 pm


On Wednesday (June 2), the Province announced students in Ontario would not return to school for in-person learning this academic year.

Doug Ford and the conservative government determined the risk of driving up daily case counts associated with reopening schools, particularly regarding variants of concern, outweighed the positives it would have on students’ mental health.

However, many—especially parents of children who have struggled through much of this year—criticized the Province’s decision.

Many felt Ford, who asked for advice from experts but ultimately chose not to follow it, had chosen to prioritize the economy over students.

However, the Registered Nursing Association of Ontario (RNAO) has lauded the Province’s decision to keep schools closed to in-person learning until the fall.

“The pandemic has been very hard for everyone and in particular for young students and their parents. However, the risk of reopening schools for the remaining three weeks of the academic year is too high. Thus, RNAO fully supports Premier Doug Ford’s June 2 decision to delay the reopening of schools for in-person classes until September,” reads a statement from the RNAO.

Additionally, Doris Grinspun, CEO of the RNAO, believes the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table’s recommendation to reopen schools doesn’t take into account all the risks associated with such action, particularly when it comes to the potential community spread.

Further, due to the fact most students have not been vaccinated, coupled with the emergence of new variants, such as B.1.617, the RNAO believes reopening schools for just three weeks in June increases the potential for a fourth Ontario-wide lockdown later in the summer.

Moreover, while the organization approves of the Province’s decision to err on the side of caution when it comes to schools, it warns that advancing the June 14 date to move into Step 1 could have similar results when Ontario prematurely re-opened certain businesses and amenities after the previous lockdowns.

“We have suffered so long with the COVID-19 pandemic and we must learn the lessons of premature re-openings. Let’s not make the same mistake,” reads the statement.

In order to ensure students can return to in-person learning in the fall, the RNAO is urging the Province to invest the money necessary for renovations to Ontario schools that would improve ventilation and facilitate smaller class sizes, as well as ensure that all education staff and students ages 12 and over are fully vaccinated before the start of the academic year.

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