Schools Are An Essential Service And Must Be Reopened For Ontario’s Future

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Paediatricians of Ontario ready to support the Government of Ontario to get kids back to school

The Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario (PAO) strongly supports safe re-opening of schools as soon as possible.

Students in Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton are returning to TLDSB schools today, but not in Muskoka. In an e-mail to parents, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Simcoe Muskoka agrees that students should return to class in Muskoka. The problem still remains that Muskoka is still connected with Simcoe Country as one health unit in the province.

Ontario pediatricians are witnessing first-hand the effect of school closures on children and youth. The closures are having a major immediate effect on the emotional functioning and physical health of children and families. Paediatricians are seeing a sharp increase in suicidal attempts, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, overdoses, eating   disorders, obesity, and late presentation of a host of medical conditions in patients.

“Schools are an essential service. Teachers, children and youth workers and early childhood educators are essential to the functioning of our society and must be considered as such,” said Dr. Sharon Burey, President of the Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario. “We strongly urge the Government of Ontario to widely publicize and promote supports that our children, parents and educators need to function better during this COVID-19 pandemic.”

We wholeheartedly support the return to in person learning with enhanced safety measures, as announced by Stephen Lecce Ontario’s Minster of Education yesterday.

Systematic testing, vaccinating teachers, reducing class sizes, wearing masks, hand hygiene, and maintaining two metres physical distance are known strategies that will keep our schools and society safe.1

Dr. Burey continued, “As always, the PAO is happy to partner with the Government of Ontario to ensure that needed supports are received by families that are most vulnerable.”

The PAO represents Pediatricians throughout the province of Ontario. Its mission is to advocate for the health and well-being of Ontario children and be the representative voice of its pediatricians. Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario: Children’s Specialists for Life.

  1. Sick Kids- COVID-19: Guidance for School Operation during the Pandemic https://www.sickkids.ca/en/news/archive/2021/covid19-updated-guidance-school-operation-during-pandemic/
  2. PAO- Proper planning required for the COVID-19 classroom. https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2020/08/03/proper-planning-required-for-the-covid-19-classroom.html

2 COMMENTS

  1. Yes Simcoe Muskoka are part of the same health unit, but I don’t understand the difficulty in looking at the two regions separately as Simcoe and Muskoka. The numbers in Simcoe are much higher then in Muskoka, the health unit already provides the numbers for both areas. So the health unit itself is separating the two regions.
    Muskoka is part of the Trillum Lakelands Disctrict School Board of which Simcoe is not part. If they can differentiate between the two, why is the health board not able too.
    What is even more confusing is that Dr. Gardner the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Simcoe Muskoka is in agreement that Muskoka kids should be returning to school, as stated in the above article.
    Lecce’s canned response is not providing any answers as to why Muskoka is not back in class.

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