Ontario Science Advisory Table Says It's 'Essential' For Kids To Go Back To In-Person Learning This Year

Extracurricular activities are recommended as "an important component."

Toronto Associate Editor

Ontario's science advisory table is recommending a very different school year for students across the province this September — one that includes extracurricular activities and a more relaxed approach to masking and physical distancing.

In a brief released Monday, the advisory table said schools should remain open for in-person learning unless under "catastrophic circumstances."

"The physical, emotional, and developmental health of children and youth has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions placed on schools," they wrote.

Ontario has also apparently had the longest interruption of face-to-face learning in Canada. The province's science advisory table stressed how important in-person learning is for young students because it provides academic and social opportunities, promotes positive mental health and student-to-student relationships, and physical activity.

The province currently has over 60% of all eligible Ontarians being fully vaccinated, and since vaccination rates are high, the science table predicts lower levels of COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations in the fall.

The science advisory table's recommendations break down what to do during low- to high-risk COVID-19 scenarios. During low-risk scenarios, which means when there are "sporadic" hospitalizations, the advisory table says physical distancing and masking shouldn't be required.

Kindergarteners and elementary school kids should be masking and staying within their cohorts when the school is facing a moderate-to-high COVID-19 risk scenario, while middle school and high schoolers should be more concerned with masking and physical distancing.

Some of the permanent back-to-school suggestions Ontario's science advisory table offers include vaccination of all eligible students and "those who interact with the students" like teachers, school staff and parents.

They also recommend any student or staff member who is displaying COVID-19 symptoms or has been exposed to COVID-19 to stay home, wash their hands regularly, improve indoor air quality through proper ventilation, and practicing appropriate environmental cleaning.

More from Narcity

Comments 💬

Our comment section is a place to promote self-expression, freedom of speech and positivity. We encourage discussion and debate, but our pages must remain a safe space where everyone feels comfortable and the environment is respectful.

In order to make this possible, we monitor comments to keep spam, hate speech, violence, and vulgarity off our pages. Comments are moderated according to our Community Guidelines.

Please note that Narcity Media does not endorse the opinions expressed in the comment section of an article. Narcity Media has the right to remove comments, ban or suspend any user without notice, or close a story’s comment section at any time.

First and last names will appear with each comment and the use of pseudonyms is prohibited. By commenting, you acknowledge that Narcity Media has the right to use & distribute your content across our properties.