COVID-19: Ontario faces pushback for lack of clarity on school reopening

Ontario’s government is facing criticism from doctors and teachers alike for failing to say if and when classrooms will reopen this school year.

The Canadian Paediatric Society says the province must prioritize reopening schools for the sake of children’s mental health.

The national organization of pediatricians says even a few weeks in the classroom will be beneficial for children who have been starved of socialization.

The province’s three-stage reopening plan, unveiled on Thursday, will see some non-essential retailers open their doors around mid-June, but offers no plan for sending kids back to class.

Read more: COVID-19: Schools to remain closed as Ontario unveils reopening plan

The union that represents the province’s high school teachers wants Premier Doug Ford’s government to be a little more transparent.

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Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, says he’d like to see the criteria the province is using to decide whether it’s safe for schools to reopen.

For his part, he says he believes the province should take a regional approach to reopening, as the rate of COVID-19 varies by location.

The province’s chief medical officer says the province is in the tricky situation of trying to balance the risk reopening might have on the spread of COVID-19 with the mental health of students.

Students have been learning remotely since schools closed after the spring break in April, more than a month ago.

Click to play video: 'Ontario to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine rollout for teachers, students' Ontario to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine rollout for teachers, students

Ontario to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine rollout for teachers, students – May 5, 2021

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