Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Guelph’s healthcare professional says the benefits of reopening schools for personal learning amid a wave of Omicron COVID-19 variant cases outweigh the short-term risks.

Dr. Nicola Mercer issued a statement Friday afternoon saying personal learning is important for children, their families and the whole community.

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“When children are unable to go to school, there are serious and long-term consequences for their mental health, well-being and academic progress,” she said.

“A world-class education delivered in a safe environment by caring teachers and supported by dedicated staff is an important pillar of our region’s future.”

Schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday despite the Omicron variant driving an increase in the number of cases and putting pressure on the local health system.

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The latest data shows that there are 22 people at Guelph General Hospital with COVID-19 and 67 employees are off work due to the disease.

The hospital’s intensive care unit has exceeded full capacity, while its acute treatment is almost full.

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Dr. Mercer said it will likely take several weeks at least before the situation begins to improve in the region.

She added that in order to learn personally to resume and become successful, the whole community must protect schools from the spread of the variant.

“Schools, school boards and their partners across the region have made many changes to make schools as safe as possible,” said Dr. Mercer. “But it will take us all to work together as a community to reduce COVID-19 levels locally to make schools safer.”

She urged everyone to get vaccinated and get a booster as soon as they are eligible, and continue to follow all public health measures.

Dr. Mercer also said that many families in the community rely on personal learning to support their economic and social well-being.

“Many children rely on personal learning for the sake of food safety, security and many other benefits in addition to what is included in their lessons,” she said.

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“For this reason, I believe the benefits of reopening personal learning ultimately outweigh the short-term risks.”

Click to play video: 'Global News talks to Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce as schools prepare to reopen'

Global News speaks with Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce as schools prepare to reopen

Global News speaks with Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce as schools prepare to reopen

Guelph’s public school board announced this week that each classroom will have a HEPA filter and each teacher will have access to an unsuitable N95 mask.

“We have just over 2,200 independent HEPA units across our system, so they are in each of our learning spaces,” said Education Director Peter Sovran.

Along with N95 masks for each teacher, reusable three-layer masks will also be available to all students when they return for personal learning on Monday.

“School staff during this week will continue to distribute the masks to each school so they are in place Friday of this week so they are ready for the students when they enter our building, probably on Monday,” he said. leader. Education Inspector Brent McDonald.

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The board has also launched a temporary remote option for elementary school students whose parents choose to keep their children at home.

The new temporary option is different from the current remote program that students signed up for at the beginning of the school year.

“There can be a variety of reasons why a child can learn from home, and we recognize the importance of providing families with opportunities that support continued learning for students,” said Upper Grand spokeswoman Heather Loney.

“This temporary distance learning option provides students with asynchronous resources to work on independently, while not participating in person until they return to personal learning.”

The board added that families should note that this option provides asynchronous resources that students can work on independently and does not include live tuition, and none of the completed work will be assessed or assessed.

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The temporary option is available to students in both French Immersion and general programming.

All families wishing to participate in the opportunity must notify their school office, indicating that their child will have access to temporary distance learning and indicating how long they expect their child to do so.

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