It is wrong to close the school at this stage of the pandemic


Ontario students need to deal with another two weeks when the school is closed. More precisely, students will not return to school for “at least” two more weeks. It’s a politician-speak indefinitely.

Prime Minister Dougford says it wasn’t a difficult decision.In fact, it took Only 30 seconds For him to accomplish that (after a five-hour cabinet meeting, of course). Too bad Ford didn’t give this issue another 30 seconds of thought. If so, he will find himself making the wrong decision — again.

It is well known that school closures are harmful to students. Not only do students miss important academic learning, but they are also deprived of the structure and routines that the school provides. It is impossible to exaggerate the real harm to the mental health that students experience during long school holidays.

This is why more and more doctors and pediatricians are expressing concern about replacing face-to-face lessons with distance learning. Hundreds of doctors recently signed an open letter to the Ontario government and urged them to keep their schools open. Sadly, their concerns were deaf.

The problem is that those who want to close the school are very loud and know how to listen to their concerns. This is a classic example of a squeaky wheel getting grease.

Teachers’ unions have been at the forefront of spreading the myth that schools are not safe. In addition, many teachers are considering using social media accounts to attack governments and send them back to “insecure” schools.

Mainstream media also contributes to the horror story with breathtaking reports of record-high daily COVID-19 cases.

But in reality there is always a risk factor, but schools are currently one of the safest places. Remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available. All teachers who want to get vaccinated are vaccinated. Many people, including myself, even get booster shots. If these vaccines actually work and I believe, vaccinated teachers should be able to go to work with confidence.

In addition, all students had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Students over the age of 12 had ample time to receive two vaccinations, and students aged 5 to 11 had the opportunity to receive at least one vaccination. Combine this with the fact that we are in a strong position when we conclude that the school is safe, as the demographic group in which young people are least likely to get a serious illness due to COVID-19.

What makes Ford’s announcement of school closure even more annoying is that he is clearly succumbing to political pressure rather than listening to science.

On December 30, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief health doctor, claimed that the school would open on January 5. At the press conference, Dr. Moore said additional layers of protection, such as improved ventilation and improved masks, “keep the school safe and allow direct learning.”

No medical information has changed dramatically between December 30th and January 3rd, when Ford announced that it would keep the school closed. The only thing that has changed is that those who support the closure of the school have flooded Ford’s government with a message protesting the reopening of the school. It is absurd to sacrifice children’s education to appease those who do not vote for Ford.

The problem is that Ford continues to pay attention to the precautionary principle, the idea that it is better to avoid even the perception of risk. But in reality, there is nothing safe about keeping the school closed. Every day when school is closed is another day when many students’ physical and mental health is further impaired.

In all accounts, the Omicron variant is much less serious than previous versions of COVID-19. Due to its extreme contagiousness, almost everyone can be infected with this virus at some point.

It’s time for the state to abandon the informal “COVID Zero” approach. The virus will never go away and the government will not be able to protect us from it. Instead, the focus should be on allowing people to make their own health decisions.

Schools need to be reopened and kept open. Students have made sufficient sacrifices during this pandemic.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Michael Zwagstra


Michael Zwaagstra is a public high school teacher, senior researcher at the Frontier Public Policy Center, and author of “The Sages on Stage: Common Sense Thoughts on Education and Learning.”