TORONTO, Kan. – Extracurricular activities can gradually return to schools in Toronto.
Toronto Public Health said on Monday that schools in the city may slowly allow the resumption of extracurricular activities – including sports and clubs – and provided a framework to help councils bring those activities back.
“Our goal is to have as few interruptions as possible in in-person learning,” said Dr. Vinita Dubey, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Toronto, of the return to activities.
The province allowed extra-curricular activities to continue when the new school year began earlier this month, but the Toronto health unit had recommended suspending them as the in-person learning began on September 9.
The Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board both sent letters to parents on Monday saying they would follow updated guidelines from the public health unit.
“This is very encouraging news as we know how important these activities are to students’ mental and physical health and the overall school experience,” Colleen Russell-Rawlins, TDSB Director of Education, wrote. parents.
“The start of these activities will vary from school to school depending on the staff volunteers. We ask you to continue to be patient and understanding as schools gradually put them in place and operate. “
Toronto Public Health reported five schools in the city with an active outbreak of COVID-19 on Monday.
“It is not surprising that we have started to see cases of COVID-19 in our schools as we continue to live with this virus,” said Dubey, who noted that schools are more vulnerable because a COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been approved for children under the age of 12.
“People are moving more, have more contact and there are still a number of unvaccinated people in our population. “
Toronto Public Health has recommended prioritizing outdoor and low-risk activities over resuming extracurricular activities. He added that as schools establish their routines, other clubs, activities and teams may return.
The health unit also said school marching bands could return, but without wind and brass instruments.
Schools should keep accurate records of all students who are part of after-school clubs and activity cohorts to help with contact tracing, Toronto Public Health said.
The mayor of Toronto has said he fully supports the recommendation of the public health unit.
“I know Toronto Public Health continues to monitor the situation in schools and is working with school boards and the Ontario government to keep schools open and safe with classroom learning and extracurricular activities,” said John Tory in a statement.
“We want children to be safe and healthy in schools – all aspects of schools, including extracurricular activities.”
The green light to resume extracurricular activities came as Ontario reported 610 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, including 126 in Toronto.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 458 of the province’s new cases were in people who are not fully vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown.
Elliott said 233 people are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus in the province and 177 people are in intensive care because of it.
The health ministry said more than 10% of hospitals had failed to submit data to the daily report and predicted the number of inpatients would increase on Tuesday.
Ontario also reported two new COVID-19-related deaths on Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 20, 2021.