HUTCHISON: Calls to fully reopen schools in September are on a collision course with reality

David Hutchison, Professor of Educational Studies, wrote a piece recently published in The Globe and Mail where he used project management concepts to  advocate for a graduated return to school for students in Ontario.

He writes:

“The call to reopen schools for millions of Canadian students in only a few weeks’ time poses major risks to public health. Educational planning under normal circumstances requires months of rigorous preparation. During a pandemic, this is even more critical.

Even a small miscalculation in school reopening plans could result in undetected community spread, putting lives at risk and setting whole municipalities back months in their economic recoveries. For example, children who are infected with the coronavirus are often asymptomatic. A daily symptom-checking protocol (as some Ontario school boards are proposing) is likely to prove insufficient in flagging cases.

Add to the mix of uncertainties recent moves to reopen bars and indoor dining, plus the beginning of the fall flu season, and public-health challenges could be easily exacerbated in the coming months.

The risks are numerous. First, there is the rush to reopen schools. In the case of Ontario, the Ministry of Education plans to announce its school-reopening plan for the province this week. Earlier this summer, school boards were requested to submit their reopening plans to the province by Aug. 4. Both timelines leave only a few short weeks to turn ambitious infrastructure, scheduling and staffing plans into concrete realities.”

Continue reading the full article here.

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