TORONTO, January 3, 2022 – As leaders in children’s health, we are saddened by today’s announcement from the provincial government. We know that in person learning is essential to the mental, physical and developmental wellbeing of children.
During this next two weeks, we are hopeful that government will do everything it can to instill confidence in families and education workers and support school resuming on January 17. This includes implementing the recommendations from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, enhancing vaccine delivery for school and childcare workers who work so hard for our children and youth; implementing targeted vaccine strategies for kids five to 11; and continuing PCR testing and scaling up rapid testing resources in schools.
The harms to children and youth while schools are closed are significant. Children and youth with disabilities will lose access to in person school-based rehabilitation services. Virtual learning and a lack of socialization with peers will create significant stress and potential mental health issues for children. Children and youth will congregate in other environments that may be less safe than schools. Children may lose access to food programs. Parents—including essential workers—may miss work and important family income.
These are just some of the reasons why during this incredibly challenging time everyone must do their part to flatten this curve and adhere to broad public health measures. When community transmission is high, kids alone shouldn’t bear the brunt of measures to reduce the spread of disease.
Let’s all do our part so that Ontario families can look forward to in person classes resuming on January 17.
About the Children’s Health Coalition: The Children’s Health Coalition is a collective of children’s health organizations, including CHEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, SickKids, Kids Health Alliance, McMaster Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital – London Health Sciences Centre, Children’s Mental Health Ontario and Empowered Kids Ontario.