As Horwath calls for more COVID safety measures, London school forced to close – About Your Online Magazine


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Hours before a London elementary school switched to online learning because of “wide exposure” to COVID-19, Ontario’s NDP leader Andrea Horwath asked the province to take advantage of next week’s school holidays to improve security schools and vaccinate teachers.

Parents of public school students Ashley Oaks in south London were informed on Wednesday night by the Thames Valley District School Board that the school is switching to online education on Thursday because a “large number of students and staff ”Are required to be quarantined.

“Because of this significant exposure, Ashley Oaks’ public school will transition to remote learning effectively tomorrow,” said a statement from the council.

The council reported on Wednesday night that two COVID-19 cases were identified at the school.

Face-to-face classes at Ashley Oaks will resume on April 19, when students from Ontario are due to return to classes after next week’s spring break.

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The board’s announcement punctuated a day that included Premier Doug Ford’s declaration of a four-week stay order to contain the COVID-19 cases and Horwath’s virtual press conference with three London NDP MPPs.

“It was a horrible year for parents, students and education workers. We know that anxiety and stress increase every day when people go to schools, ”she said at a news conference with Terence Kernaghan, Teresa Armstrong and Peggy Sattler.

“Classrooms are still full, children are being loaded onto buses that are still full. We have situations with classrooms of 20 or 30 people with only a few centimeters between the desks ”.

Horwath says the province needs to do more to keep students and staff healthy as the number of COVID-19 cases increases.

One in four schools in the province has at least one case of COVID-19, according to provincial statistics.

In the Peel, Toronto and Durham regions, schools were closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus, as the most contagious and dangerous variants spread through the community “like wildfire,” said Horwath.

She is calling for measures like vaccines for all essential workers, including education workers, smaller classes, better ventilation in schools, taps without taps, more widespread tests and windows “that can really open”.

“It only makes sense to protect school systems in the context of variants. Different regions are experiencing different things. (Which is different) here are the variants that can take hold and spread quickly, ”said Horwath.

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Scott Hardie, vice president of the local Ontario Thames Valley Federation of Thames Valley, said the number of cases in schools is evolving due to variations.

“We are seeing more cases in the same classroom more often. This is something that we rarely saw in the fall and is happening more often now, ”he said.

Earlier this year, Mark Fisher, the council’s director of education, said schools on the Thames Valley council “are the safest place for students.”

And the best public health doctor in the London area doesn’t mind that. Middlesex-London medical officer Chris Mackie has said repeatedly that there has been little dissemination of COVID-19 in classrooms.

“Schools seem to be the safe place to be in this region,” he said.

Caitlin Clark, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education, agrees with Mackie’s sentiments: “Schools remain safe with strong public health measures in place that have kept 98 percent of schools in Ontario open.”

Education officials across the province who work with special education students will be vaccinated next week, she said.

“It is our firm belief that schools should be open to classroom learning, as they are essential for students’ mental health,” said Clark.

In the London region, Catholic councils in the Thames Valley and the District of London had to temporarily close schools.

The Thames Valley council is reporting 36 COVID-19 cases in 26 of its 161 schools. The central public school in Woodstock is also closed because of an outbreak of COVID.

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The London District Catholic Council has nine cases and the Santo Rosário elementary school is temporarily closed due to the impact of COVID on staff. A primary school in Aylmer and Ingersoll each has a unique case, as does Mother Teresa secondary school.

“We had a chance to stop the third wave, but now we are going to stop,” said Horwath. “The government should take the measures that it should have taken some time ago. Experts have been telling them to do this. “

But Horwath did not go so far as to say that Ontario schools need to be closed.

“Schools need to be open for children’s mental health and well-being, but they need to be safe.”

hrivers@postmedia.com

CORONAVIRUS CASES: THE NUMBERS

(* Data for southwestern Ontario on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at 12 noon)

  • Ontario – 367,602 cases
  • London-Middlesex – 7,825 cases, 190 deaths
  • Elgin-Oxford – 2,911 cases, 69 deaths
  • Brant – 1,941 cases, 14 deaths
  • Chatham-Kent – 1,660 cases, 12 deaths
  • Sarnia-Lambton – 2,940 cases, 52 deaths
  • Huron Perth – 1,439 cases, 51 deaths
  • Gray-Bruce – 871 cases, 3 deaths
  • Windsor-Essex – 14,195 cases, 405 deaths

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