Toronto Public Health says outdoor sports and low-risk indoor activities may return to their city schools.
In a release on Monday morning, Public Health said it recommended that school boards “allow a gradual return of clubs, activities, sports teams, bands (without wind and brass instruments) and extra-curricular activities.[s], “With students between the ages of 12 and 17 who are eligible for vaccines. It said schools should prioritize low-risk activities indoors, which could include chess clubs and outdoor activities.
Earlier this month a recommendation by TPH that school boards halt extra-curricular activities for the month of September created an uproar among students and teachers. High-school students who are vaccinated, in particular, called the recommendation unreasonable.
Soon after, Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer for health, said a safe return to personal learning was a priority. In an interview with . He said TPH will work closely with school boards to see what can be done.
“We’re going to recommend a gradual introduction. So it’s not necessarily, ‘Look, you’re not going to get anything in September.’ that’s safe [and] What are schools ready to do,” Dr de Villa said earlier this month.
On Monday, TPH said students from different schools and mixed groups should limit interactions outside. Public Health also said that schools should keep attendance records for contact tracing.
Also, masking is not required when students are participating in high-intensity outdoor activities, but TPH said it should be considered when possible. TPH said indoor activities would require masking and physical distancing.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said that sports and clubs must be restored as they play a vital role in the physical and mental well-being of students.
The province’s science advisory table recommended a return to extra-curricular activities, but also cautioned local public-health officials to impose temporary measures and restrictions depending on how much virus is spreading in the community.
Neighboring boards, including Peel and York, are moving forward with extra-curriculars.
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