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Ontario's Top Doctors Say That Reopening Schools Again Is 'Essential'

Schools should be the 'last to close and first to open,' they say.
Staff Writer
Ontario Schools Reopening Is An 'Essential Priority' Say Province's Top Doctors

A group representing the province's top doctors says that the government needs to make reopening Ontario's schools an "essential priority."

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the Chair of the Council Of Ontario Medical Officers Of Health (COMOH), wrote in a letter last week that schools should be reopened before non-essential businesses are opened and community restrictions are lifted.

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We are confident that all schools can be safely reopened. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, COMOH Chair

The Council Of Ontario Medical Officers Of Health is made up of the top doctors in regions across the province.

Published on Friday, January 29, the letter is addressed to the Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and the Minister of Health Christine Elliott.

In the letter, Dr. Roumeliotis said that if schools get more same-day testing, better protections for staff, and more contact tracing, Ontario's doctors are "are confident that all schools can be safely reopened."

And he quoted a report from Ontario's Hospital For Sick Children which noted "the harm of prolonged school closures" and said that schools should be "the last to close and first to open."

Dr. Roumeliotis acknowledged the variants of concern in Ontario pose a "heightened risk" for Ontarians, but he said that COMOH "do not believe they present a reason to delay a return to the classroom."

In an email statement to Narcity, Minister of Education Lecce wrote that he welcomed the support of Ontario's doctors as the province works to get schools to reopen.

Schools in Ontario have begun to open back up to in-person learning, but only in select regions.

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