Ontario residents are anxiously awaiting news from the provincial government about additional public health measures as case numbers provincewide continue to surge, and it looks like some of the regulations have already been leaked ahead of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore’s Thursday afternoon press conference.
One of the main topics of contention in recent days has been the future of schools and whether children will be shifting to remote-only learning after the holidays, or returning to classrooms.
The issue is pretty divisive, with hundreds of doctors urging Premier Doug Ford to keep kids in school while Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table Dr. Peter Juni pushes for more restrictions in other settings before any changes are made to learning.
And, it looks like the province has decided to do just that — but not before tacking a few extra days onto the winter break, for some reason.
And this is why nobody can take the Ontario government seriously 😂😂😂 because 2 days will fix everything lmfao https://t.co/wmd7BIBFOD
— Darren Connolly (@Connolly_D) December 30, 2021
Parents, teachers and students are understandably a little bit confused by the news that kids won’t be getting back to classrooms until January 5 rather than January 3, wondering what difference two days will do.
The change was confirmed by sources to multiple media outlets and was already the talk of the internet before Moore made the formal announcement at 3 p.m.
Is it just to give the illusion of doing something? What difference does 2 days make?
— KWD 🇨🇦 (@Erisedd) December 30, 2021
The delay will purportedly allow the government to send out thousands more HEPA filter units and N95 masks to school boards, and give institutions adequate time to set things up to mitigate spread as much as possible.
Others wonder if the two days are just for officials to bide their time and decide what the heck to do while also avoiding making a firm decision on the topic and thus an announcement that could anger the public.
Gives them more time to decide what to do
— Bernard (@bernardcampagna) December 30, 2021
Lately, citizens have been questioning why large-scale events like Raptors games are continuing to take place while restrictions are imposed on bars and restaurants, in long-term care homes and, potentially, at schools.
The province confirmed 13,807 new cases on Dec. 29, a new record high for a single day, along with a backlog of nearly 100,000 test results.
Per cent positivity among those tested is hovering at around 30 per cent, the highest we’ve seen since this time last year.
But, deaths and hospitalizations remain proportionately extremely low due to the far less severe nature of the Omicron variant and the province’s high vaccination numbers.
Things you can do in Ontario during the 2 days that school is out:
✅ Go the movies with hundreds of other people
✅ Dine indoors without a mask on
✅ Head to a party in a club or bar
✅ Hit up the mall for some shopping
✅ See the Raptors play in Toronto, with 9999 other fans
— 👋 Avery Swartz (@AverySwartz) December 30, 2021
Other changes made today include a drastic cut to concert and event venues with a new maximum cap of 1,000 people, a limit on publicly-funded PCR testing, and new self-isolation rules for COVID-19 patients, from 10 days to just five.