Here’s what needs to happen to reopen schools in Toronto: top doctor

Feb 1 2021, 12:38 pm

As the possible school reopening date in Ontario’s COVID-19 hotspot approaches, there’s still uncertainty on whether reopening will happen next week in Toronto.

On Monday, the City’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa didn’t say if she agreed with the tentative February 10 restart date, but said she is, “very keen to get students in school at the earliest moment possible but it has to be safe.”

De Villa also referenced a recent letter by the Council of Medical Officer of Health which addressed the importance of schools reopening, as in-class learning plays a significant role in the overall health of  students.

“There is a strong call to aim for school reopening,” she said.

But one of the main parts in creating a “safe environment from a COVID-19 perspective” is for there to be less community transmission.

De Villa said this is done with self protection measures, “distance, distance, distance is the fundamental protection against COVID-19 until we have the vaccine.”

Earlier in the day, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said that hopefully students will return to in-class learning on February 10, as originally announced when the Stay at Home order was implemented.

However, data is still being analyzed to see if schools can reopen by next week, with community transmission being of primary concern.

If the cases are in the range of 100 to 150 out of 100,000 in the region, then Williams said the schools can reopen with “proper checks and balances.”

He added that transmission rates have been declining recently and will continue to do so in the coming days.

De Villa added that she is “hopeful to see children back to school” but still wants to see case counts go down which requires “vigilance and discipline.”

To date, Toronto has 87,644 total cases, with 2,434 reported deaths.

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