The Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario (PAO) is strongly encouraging the government to reopen schools as soon as it is safe to do so.
According to the PAO, current closures are having a significant impact on students’ emotional functioning and physical health.
Additionally, pediatricians are seeing an increase in suicidal attempts, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, overdoses, eating disorders, obesity, and late presentation of a host of medical conditions in their patients.
“Schools are an essential service. Teachers, children and youth workers and early childhood educators are essential to the functioning of our society and must be considered as such,” Sharon Burey, president of the PAO, said in a news release.
“We strongly urge the Government of Ontario to widely publicize and promote supports that our children, parents and educators need to function better during this COVID-19 pandemic,” she continued.
The PAO further suggests systematic testing, vaccinating teachers, reducing class sizes, wearing masks, hand hygiene, and maintaining two metres physical distance are strategies that can keep schools, and society, safe, and allow students to return to in-person learning.
“As always, the PAO is happy to partner with the Government of Ontario to ensure that needed supports are received by families that are most vulnerable,” Burey added.