Teachers face low risk of COVID-19 if there's proper prevention, Ontario’s top doctor says
A custodian cleans a teacher's desk in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
TORONTO -- Ontario teachers “will not be at risk” of catching COVID-19 in the classroom as long as students and educators adhere to infection prevention protocols, according to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Dr. David Williams said on Thursday that educators would not be at a higher risk of exposure to the virus than any other frontline worker including health care workers and grocery store clerks.
“By doing what you need to do every time, all the time and being aware of that, you will not be at risk,” Dr. Williams said.
The comments comes amid a pitched battle between educators and the Ford government over the back to school plan, which many teachers have claimed is unsafe and puts workers and students at risk of contracting the virus.
Teachers are calling for elementary class sizes of no larger than 15 student per educator to ensure proper physical distancing at all times.
Dr. Williams, however, said “hundreds of thousands of doctors and different groups” have weighed in on Ontario’s back to school plan and determined the reopening plan is safe.
“If we didn’t think it was safe, if our experts told me it wasn’t safe, if the ones who are looking at our data and information said it’s not safe … I would take the advice,” Williams told reporters from Queen’s Park.
Dr. Williams was also asked whether he, as a grandfather, would recommend sending his own grandchildren back to school.
“Yes, I would,” he said.