Stakeholders in Mississauga and Brampton will help decide fate of 2020/2021 school year


Published May 27, 2021 at 1:57 pm

Premier Doug Ford has cast a wide net in seeking advice on the possible re-opening of schools…but they have to come up with plan by tomorrow.

Today the premier send a general letter to stakeholders in Peel Region and other community leaders across the province asking for input on whether it is safe for elementary and secondary school students to finish off the final month of learning this term in a classroom setting. He wants responses by 5 p.m. on May 28.

“I am writing today seeking your input on the possible safe return to schools before the end of this academic year. No one wants to see our schools reopen safely more than I do. Our government understands the benefits of having children learning in class. At the same time, our top priority is to ensure any decision we make on school reopening is based on sound scientific advice, consensus and considers potential or future risks faced by students and staff,” the letter states.

The premier goes on the explain the pros and cons of re-opening and points out that Ontario’s science advisors suggest that if in-classroom learning returns, the province could see an increase of 6 to 11 per cent in the number of new daily COVID cases. He also says current data shows only 41 per cent of Ontario teachers have been vaccinated.

“This is concerning,” Ford says. “At the same time we know other jurisdictions are seeing a rapid increase in new, more dangerous variants that are more contagious, make people and children in particular sicker, are potentially more deadly and are more resistant to vaccines.”

The premier closes his letter by asking stakeholders to consider the following questions:

1. Is the reopening of schools for in person learning safe for students? 2. Is the reopening of schools for in person learning safe for teachers and all education staff?

3. There are a growing number of cases in Ontario of the variant first identified in India (B.1.617). Does this mutation pose an increased risk to students and education workers?

4. The modelling from the Ontario Science Table has suggested that reopening schools will lead to an increase in cases in the province of Ontario, is this acceptable and safe?

5. Other countries are warning mutations including the B.1.617 variant45 are putting children at much greater risk and are shutting schools down. Is this concern not shared by medical experts in Ontario? 6. Should teachers be fully vaccinated before resuming in class lessons and if not, is one dose sufficient?

7. Under Ontario’s reopening plan, indoor gatherings won’t commence until July. Should indoor school instruction resume before then?

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising