Premier Ford reaches out to medical, education experts on whether or not to reopen schools before the summer

Premier Doug Ford has publicly reached out for advice from experts across the province.

The Ontario Premier issued a public letter on Thursday morning, addressed to pediatric and medical experts, local medical officers of health, and those in the education sector, asking for input on reopening schools before the end of the academic year.

All Ontario schools were closed indefinitely in early April following a spike in new COVID-19 cases, inhibiting contact tracing abilities province-wide

“In recent weeks, there has been a wide range of advice and commentary around the reopening of schools in Ontario. There is consensus in some quarters on how, when and whether schools should reopen, and diverse and conflicting views in others,” reads Ford’s letter. “Keeping children safe is our foremost consideration, which is why as experts in health, public health and education we are seeking your perspective.”

The letter poses nine specific questions surrounding the safe reopening of schools. including whether it would be safe for students and teachers to resume in-person learning, whether an increase in cases involving the B.1.617 variant should play a factor, and whether educators need to be fully vaccinated before in-class learning could resume.

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Simcoe-Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health stated this week he supports the safe return to school before the end of the current school year

Ford asks that those in a position to respond do so by 5 p.m. Friday. He adds, while he is seeking expert opinion, the decision ultimately rests upon the provincial government.

Ford’s open letter can be read below.