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LETTER: Returning to school 'could intensify the COVID outbreak,' says reader

Barrie resident says there are other ways to reduce potential spread, such as using places of worship, recreation centres and conference halls
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BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at news@barrietoday.com. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a story titled '8 in 10 teachers worried about plans to reopen schools in the fall, report says', published on July 17. 

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If the ministries of education in this country allow schools to reopen in the fall, we could intensify the COVID outbreak, especially during an anticipated second wave, and cause the deaths of tens of thousands.

In one fell swoop, this country could plunge into the kind of plague scenario the United States foolishly unleashed upon itself. Their lackadaisical attitude towards one another's health — i.e. beach gatherings and the imbecilic behaviour of a certain U.S president forcing a full reopening — caused infections to increase exponentially.

The Quebec Ministry of Education's wish to fully reopen schools is an equally foolish decision. This is why one American official lamented she couldn't escape to Canada, but frankly, who'd be stupid enough to let anyone pass those borders? Why does the Liberal government come to mind? 

Our nation's school boards are being unfairly pressured by their ministries to devise reopening plans in contravention of medical wisdom. Any reopening plan is the government's purview.

Most educators use the summer to prepare for the upcoming year so the additional pressure they're facing is enormous.

Ontario's Ministry of Education also demands a full reopening and that scenario begs another strike action by the teachers' unions. That and the fact children succumb quickly to illnesses and just as quickly pass them along to adults and other children.

Approximately 18,000 Teachers told the Canadian Teachers Federation in survey responses they thought the idea rather dim; 74 per cent shot down the online education idea because they witnessed the mental distress the school closures caused students. Others felt the part-time schooling option was equally useless as it watered down the quality of education kids would receive. But few discussed alternatives.

We don't need to reopen schools; it's better we don't. Corporations, places of worship, recreation centres, conference halls, could open their doors to accept one class of students in their local areas for the next school year. Church parish halls are large enough to accept 20 to 30 students, easily.

The fewer bodies means the fewer sanitation staff needed to cleanse the buildings. Boards could save money by keeping the schools shut and renting space from corporations or local halls to become de facto temporary schools.

Yes, students would never see their peers outside their small groups, but it's a necessary evil.

Physical education could be carried out in parks during warmer months and local rec centres during colder months. 

Only teachers and administration should be going into the schools to co-ordinate these satellite educational centres. We don't have to do this, of course, but expect students' mental health to suffer and more people dying of the disease. 

Christopher Mansour
Barrie

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