A day after his Education Minister was all over southern Ontario announcing funding for new schools Ontario’s premier will unveil plans tomorrow along with Steven Lecce on how schools will reopen in September.
Today Ford said the return of two million students in September is concerning and makes him nervous but he will take the advice from medical experts on how to do it safely.
“Is everyone nervous? Are parents nervous? Sure, they’re nervous, I’m nervous everyone is nervous when you’re dealing with kids,” Ford said. “There’s going to be two million kids going back to class and 140,000 teachers. That’s concerning.”
“What’s even more concerning is if one of the kids has COVID then they bring it home to their parents their grandparents.”
Ford’s comments come hours after The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto released its updated recommendations on how to safely reopen schools. While doctors from the Toronto hospital and other health officials from across Ontario agree face coverings may be useful in halting the spread of COVID-19 among high-school students, they don’t recommend them for younger children.
Dr. Jeffrey Pernica, the medical director of infectious diseases at McMaster University in Hamilton, says masks are not the sole line of defence against COVID-19. Pernica says masks can be distracting to younger children, and can have other potential harm if not worn correctly.
Dr. Michelle Science of SickKids says “a bundle of measures” will eliminate risk of transmission within schools rather than one specific precaution. Things like daily screening for symptoms, physical distancing when possible and cohorting should also be in the return plan, she added.
The doctors say evidence is mounting that young children don’t play a “significant role” in spreading COVID-19, compared to teenagers and other adults.