Stephen Lecce’s office says teacher unions are stoking fear about school safety

Brenda Watkins
April 7, 2021

Speaking from Vancouver alongside Health Minister Adrian Dix, Dr. Bonnie Henry said the update brings the total number of cases confirmed since the start of the pandemic to 105,988.

She said the variants are more highly transmissible and therefore more unsafe.

Tam said chief public health officers from federal and provincial governments met over the weekend to discuss the P.1 spread, and are working to double efforts to manage known P.1 cases.

Schools in Thunder Bay and Sudbury have been closed to in-person learning since March, and students are learning remotely.

"So we received word from Toronto Public Health which has invoked Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, to order all Toronto schools to close, and this is to help essentially control the spread or curb the spread of COVID 19", Toronto District School Board (TDSB) spokesperson Ryan Bird told CP24 on Tuesday.

The move comes after Peel Region's top doctor announced yesterday that schools in his region would be closing today for two weeks. Details will be disclosed on Wednesday, he said.

"Children who face the most harm from the loss of in-person learning are often the ones most at risk".

As quickly as the province is able to administer available doses, COVID-19 is rapidly spreading among those not eligible to receive the vaccine and causing more serious illness.

Canada marked a grim milestone earlier this month, soaring past its one millionth diagnosis of COVID-19. Under provincial guidelines, a COVID-19 outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before or after school care).

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The idea of the travel bubble has been in the news for almost 12 months but has previously been scuttled due to outbreaks. The New Zealand leader acknowledged those that had suffered due to the necessary border arrangements.

Just days after invoking a provincewide "emergency brake", Ford is pondering even more restrictions in Ontario, pushed by local public health doctors in Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area.

"While teacher unions continue to stoke fear, here are facts that are not up for debate."

"It makes very little sense to me why it took so long actually for this decision to be made", she said.

Lab studies suggest vaccines are less effective against this variant, she said. She's hopeful to have more information "very soon".

The more people we can protect with vaccines, the more protection is extended to our communities, our province and Canada as a whole.

An online petition calling on the government to vaccinate teachers and support staff in Ontario had garnered around 65,000 signatures by Tuesday afternoon.

Three teachers' unions also asked the government to close schools for in-class learning in virus hot spots and offer vaccines to education workers.

Ontario also reports 494 patients in intensive care because of COVID-19 and 293 on a ventilator.

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