Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday January 8, 2022
Ontario schools reopen (maybe) in two weeks. What can be done to make them safer from COVID-19?
Ontario has delayed reopening elementary and secondary schools for at least two weeks in response to a meteoric rise in COVID-19 cases.
What are the chances that in-person classes can resume as tentatively scheduled on Jan. 17?
The provincial government says it’s adding new layers of protection from N95 masks for teachers to extra HEPA air filters. At the same time, key elements of the infection-control trio of “test, trace and isolate” have been dismantled in the face of the skyrocketing case counts.
The government is under pressure from all sides: pandemic-weary parents scrambling to work themselves while dealing with another round of online classes at home; pediatricians warning of the harm to children caused by school closures; teachers, principals and school staff and some scientists and doctors calling for additional safety measures.
Everyone agrees students need to resume in-person classes as soon as possible. The debate is over what is required to make schools safe enough to send students back and keep them there.