Prepare for up to four weeks without school: Etches

Ottawa’s top doctor says parents, students and teachers should prepare for up to four weeks of online learning as Ontario closes schools.

“In practice, we probably need to prepare and be psychologically ready for two to four weeks without in-person school,” Medical Officer of Health Dr Vera Etches told Kristy Cameron of Newstalk 580 CFRA on Monday.

“If hospitalizations are going to continue to increase towards the end of the month, it may be difficult to come back. “

Etches spoke after Premier Doug Ford announced Monday that schools will be closed to in-person learning until January 17.

The province announced last week that in-person teaching would resume on Wednesday.

Etches said that while she hopes schools can open earlier, families may want to plan for up to four weeks of distance learning if they can.

“In reality, I think it can help people, if they are trying to put plans in place to deal with the situation, to be able to prepare for these two to four weeks,” Etches said.

“I know that sometimes families can only go day in and day out. We understand that it is really difficult. But also trying to put in place something that will be of longer term support could be beneficial. “

Etches said on Sunday she supported keeping schools open. On Monday, she said she would continue to advocate for children to return to class “as soon as they can”.

“Schools should be the first framework to reopen to support families. “


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