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.
“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.
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.