ontario schools

Ontario delays reopening schools by two days and people have thoughts

Ontario residents are anxiously awaiting news from the provincial government about additional public health measures as case numbers provincewide continue to surge, and it looks like some of the regulations have already been leaked ahead of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore's Thursday afternoon press conference.

One of the main topics of contention in recent days has been the future of schools and whether children will be shifting to remote-only learning after the holidays, or returning to classrooms.

The issue is pretty divisive, with hundreds of doctors urging Premier Doug Ford to keep kids in school while Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table Dr. Peter Juni pushes for more restrictions in other settings before any changes are made to learning.

And, it looks like the province has decided to do just that — but not before tacking a few extra days onto the winter break, for some reason.

Parents, teachers and students are understandably a little bit confused by the news that kids won't be getting back to classrooms until January 5 rather than January 3, wondering what difference two days will do.

The change was confirmed by sources to multiple media outlets and was already the talk of the internet before Moore made the formal announcement at 3 p.m.

The delay will purportedly allow the government to send out thousands more HEPA filter units and N95 masks to school boards, and give institutions adequate time to set things up to mitigate spread as much as possible.

Some speculate it also gives the province a few extra days to urge more parents to get their kids vaccinated, and also provides some more time for infections acquired over the holidays to show.

Others wonder if the two days are just for officials to bide their time and decide what the heck to do while also avoiding making a firm decision on the topic and thus an announcement that could anger the public.

Lately, citizens have been questioning why large-scale events like Raptors games are continuing to take place while restrictions are imposed on bars and restaurants, in long-term care homes and, potentially, at schools.

The province confirmed 13,807 new cases on Dec. 29, a new record high for a single day, along with a backlog of nearly 100,000 test results.

Per cent positivity among those tested is hovering at around 30 per cent, the highest we've seen since this time last year.

But, deaths and hospitalizations remain proportionately extremely low due to the far less severe nature of the Omicron variant and the province's high vaccination numbers.

Other changes made today include a drastic cut to concert and event venues with a new maximum cap of 1,000 people, a limit on publicly-funded PCR testing, and new self-isolation rules for COVID-19 patients, from 10 days to just five.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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