Peel medical officer of health is closing schools for two weeks

Toronto Public Health to close 22 schools across city due to COVID-19 investigations

Peel medical officer of health is closing schools for two weeks

Schools should be the last to close and the first to open in a pandemic situation, Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, told reporters last week. "With increasing case counts and the presence of variants of concern, we need to break chains of transmission and keep our schools safe", Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel's Medical Officer of Health, said in a statement. Peel Public Health said it saw a jump in cases and the community spread of variants late last week and through the weekend.

The closure will remain in place until April 18 and Loh says it may be extended if necessary.

"Each COVID-19 case in a school requires a careful investigation to determine the potential risk to other individuals in that setting, and based on the findings of the investigation, decisions are then made on how best to protect the staff and students in the school, including dismissing some cohorts or all cohorts", Dubey said.

There have been nearly 2,500 reported COVID-19 cases linked to the province's schools in the past two weeks, with 63 schools closed.

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The top doctor in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health unit has ordered all schools to stop in-person learning starting tomorrow, with classes to return no sooner than April 19. "I know this will be challenging for parents to navigate and we appreciate all the sacrifices parents continue to make as we continue to fight COVID-19 in our community".

Peel Region remains one of the virus hotspots in Ontario, with 533 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Monday - second only to Toronto. TPH will continue to manage risk on a school-by-school basis, taking immediate and appropriate action to address these complex outbreaks. Further decisions to extend the order will be made, as required.

The Sun has also learned that Toronto's medical officer Dr. Eileen de Villa has considered implementing the same measure, although the Toronto District School Board may instead opt to just close schools in very high-transmission neighbourhoods.

"It is our firm belief that schools should be open for in-class learning, as they are critical to student mental health".

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A union representing Ontario elementary teachers agrees that in-class learning is best for children, but said the government is not doing enough to make schools safe.

As of April 1, 63 Ontario schools were closed due to COVID-19, with 1,240 schools now reporting at least one case. Students at the schools in the two boards will shift to remote learning.

"We remain grateful to staff, students and families who have taken extraordinary efforts to change their routines and carry out collective actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our school communities safe", said Colleen Russell-Rawlins, director of education at the Peel District School Board, one of the country's largest with more than 154,000 kindergarten to Grade 12 students at 246 schools.

It's recommending a government stay-at-home order and the closure of all non-essential businesses, but didn't suggest schools closing.

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