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Peel Region Teachers' Union Is Fighting For Kids To Not Return To School Next Week

Elementary school students are supposed to return to in-person learning on Monday.

An elementary school teachers union says Peel region's return-to-school dates should be postponed because of high COVID-19 numbers. 

Elementary students in Peel region are supposed to return to in-person learning on Monday, January 11, after spending an extra week in remote learning after the winter holidays.

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There is nothing to indicate it would be any safer to return next week.  The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

Gail Bannister-Clarke, the president of the Peel region chapter of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), published an open letter on January 6 to Dr. Loh, Peel region's medical officer of health.

Bannister-Clarke said that there have been 15 outbreaks in Peel's elementary schools so far, with almost half of those coming in December 2020.

"We do know that [COVID-19] is being brought into our schools. We do know that outbreaks are occurring," wrote Bannister-Clarke. "The measures taken to date have not successfully reduced the risk, as the growing number of cases in schools clearly shows."

In a statement emailed to Narcity, Peel Public Health said they are "actively speaking to the Province and other local health units to determine the best solution."*

All students in the province are currently learning remotely, after an order from the provincial government in December 2020.

But the province has continued to say that schools are not a large factor in rising case numbers in Ontario. 

"While our schools are not a source of rising community transmission, we can play an important part of the solution to save lives from COVID-19," said Education Minister Stephen Lecce when the decision to move to remote learning was announced.

*This article has been updated.