Friday, 16 April, 2021

Toronto moving all schools to online learning as of Wednesday

Schools in Peel Region ordered closed for two weeks due to surging COVID-19 cases Toronto Public Health to close 22 schools across city due to COVID-19 investigations
Deanna Wagner | 07 April, 2021, 03:21

The chief medical officer for Peel Region, which also includes the town of Caledon, ordered its schools closed until April 18 on Monday, with camps due to run during next week's delayed break also cancelled.

"Unfortunately, current circumstances require that hard decisions must be taken locally to protect all those in our school communities, including students, teachers and staff", Toronto Public Health said in a statement.

While the province's education minister and other officials insist schools are safe, critics question how many children and youth may be coming to class asymptomatic but contagious.

"The spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto, with variants of concern increasing both the risk of transmission and the risk of serious illness or death", said the City in a news release.

Dr. Lawrence Loh, chief medical officer for Peel Region, has ordered schools closed until April 18, exercising his discretionary powers under Section 22 of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act.

"TPH will continue to recommend early dismissal for individual schools upon investigation to protect students, staff, teachers, and school communities", said the health unit Monday.

Bird acknowledged that there are some outbreaks at Toronto schools, including 22 that were closed on Monday, and that closing all schools is the best move right now.

"I think everyone can agree, it's not a lot of warning".

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The study found cellular T cell responses developed in 63% of the older people given two doses of the Pfizer jab. There have been doubts raised about the effectiveness of vaccines on variants.

Unions, which have long argued the Progressive Conservative provincial government has failed to invest enough to make schools safe, cheered the move, which they say they have pushed for.

"I know we're working on a plan as well, for the teachers, and we'll be working along with the boards, the minister of education and the minister of health", Ford said.

"In some schools, they were concerned that there might have been some transmission, but their case contact management was starting to get overwhelmed with all the contacts to follow", he said.

In Toronto, the public health unit says it has recommended the closure of 20 schools as COVID-19 cases are investigated. There are now 1,062 schools with at least one case of the virus and 83 schools are now closed due to an outbreak.

"That's a huge step for anybody to take", Wolfe said. However the health and safety of students and staff remain a priority.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association have also asked for schools in virus hot spots to move classes online until teachers can be vaccinated.

The closure also affects Dufferin-Peel District Catholic School Board, Conseil Scolaire Viamonde, Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir, all private schools and all special education staff and students. Schools in Peel already have strong measures in place to prevent transmission in their settings.

The statement accused teacher unions of "stoking fear" and said that 30 per cent of schools that are closed are closed due to staff shortages rather than COVID-19 and that 99 per cent of students and staff across Ontario do not now have COVID-19. More than a quarter of the 4,828 schools in the province have an active case.