Ontario's ministry of education says that it is not considering any alterations to the public school calendar, even as Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie hints that she has “heard rumblings” about early closures for the holidays in order to conduct deep cleanings.
Crombie made the comment during an interview with CP24 on Thursday morning, just before the province reported another 103 school-related cases of COVID-19.
About 13 per cent of Ontario’s schools have now reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 and several have had to temporarily shut down due to outbreaks.
“We do not oversee the schools and that would be a provincial decision but I am hearing rumblings that maybe the schools would close earlier for Christmas and full cleanings could be done,” Crombie said.
In a statement provided to CP24 on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said that it is “currently not considering modifications to the school year calendar for 2020” and is instead focusing its efforts “on doing everything we can to keep students and educators safe, while keeping schools open and students learning in person.”
Peel Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh also told reporters during a briefing on Thursday morning that he is not aware of any plans to close schools earlier than currently planned – Dec. 21.
Loh, however, did acknowledge that if case counts continue to rise there might eventually be some impact on the public school system, which he said has so far not proven to be a “driver of transmission” and is rather a “reflection of community transmission.”
“If you throw enough cases at the school system and if our case counts continue to rise there will need to be some sort of reckoning which speaks to my remarks this morning,” he said.
“We need to really limit our interactions and get this under control because ultimately schools are one of the last things we want to close knowing that many students benefit from development, socialization and learning by being in that setting with precautions.”