Peel medical officer of health is closing schools for two weeks

Schools in Peel Region ordered closed for two weeks due to surging COVID-19 cases

Schools in Peel Region ordered closed for two weeks due to surging COVID-19 cases

The province's top doctor also expressed confidence on Tuesday that schools are safe, but said contact tracers in Peel Region and Toronto were dealing with too many cases to confidently rule out transmission within schools.

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.

York Region also said it was "monitoring" the situation, but has no plans to close schools, saying it is following the provincial framework.

"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.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa issued the order on Tuesday, following similar moves by her counterparts in Peel Region and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph.

"I knew it was going to be a matter of when, not if, schools would be closed, not to say that that's easy for people", she said Tuesday from her home in Mississauga, Ont.

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.

Toronto Public Health says in-person learning is set to resume in Toronto on April 19, after next week's spring break. "I think it's necessary".

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Those who get sick after vaccination, he noted, seem to have less-severe illness and are less likely to end up in a hospital bed. Gavin Newsom also struck a positive tone in the announcement Tuesday, but cautioned that residents still had to remain cautious.

Mark Fisher, a trustee with the Ottawa-Carleton District school board, said his family decided the two youngest kids would stay home this week, even though they will not have access to online classes, given the spike in cases in Ottawa. In February, the government delayed March Break by one month to keep students in the classroom and prevent further COVID-19 transmission. There are now 1,062 schools with at least one case of the virus and 83 schools are now closed due to an outbreak.

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

"That's a huge step for anybody to take", Wolfe said.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation- Toronto President Leslie Wolfe told CP24 Tuesday that she welcomes the move but it should have happened sooner.

Meanwhile, two Niagara Region school boards said staff would be eligible for COVID-19 shots starting next week.

An online petition calling on the government to vaccinate teachers and support staff in Ontario had garnered around 65,000 signatures by Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce's office assured Ontarians that "schools remain safe with strong public health measures in place that have kept almost 99 per cent of schools in Ontario open".

"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. More than a quarter of the 4,828 schools in the province have an active case.

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