Premier Doug Ford voiced confidence in the advice he is receiving from the province’s top health officials but did not deny there would be bumps in the road as schools reopen.
At his media briefing on Tuesday, Ford said Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and other medical officials never tell him what he wants to hear.
“They tell me the right correct professional health opinion and science behind any decision they have told us. And so far, they have given us incredible advice.”
The Premier and Education Minister Stephen Lecce toured a Toronto school today and said they were impressed with the preparations that have been made to protect students and staff.
Health Minister Christine Elliot told the media briefing health authorities have stress-tested the outbreak management policies should there be a COVID-19 outbreak at schools. She acknowledged there was no chance to lower the risk of the virus at schools to zero but said there were many layers of risk minimization.
“From physical distancing, from wearing masks, to making sure students wash their hands on a regular basis, and to creating the pools of children that interact with each other.”
The back-to-school dispute is headed to the Ontario Labour Board Relations Board. The teachers’ unions allege the province’s reopening plan violates its own workplace safety laws.
The Premier said today “it is all hands on deck” when it comes to school safety. Ford said he understands parents and teachers are anxious, and so is he.
“Every minister, every resource, every board of directors, everyone is on full alert on this. We’re ready. We’re ready. I am looking forward to the kids getting back to school. But again, it’s not going to be without our bumps. But we will get through the bumps.”
Ford said on Monday he will shut schools down again if safety measures fall short.