Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNAO’s response to the return to in-person learning

On Jan. 12, Ontario’s Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced children would return to in-person learning on Jan. 17. RNAO issued a response saying the announcement fell flat of what was needed to reassure parents and educators that students will be safe.

Although it is vital for students’ overall health and wellbeing to return to class, Ontario is facing a fifth wave of COVID-19 driven by the highly transmissible, airborne Omicron variant, and hospitalization and ICU numbers are soaring. The government has not provided enough evidence for parents and educators to know whether children are returning safe environments.

In light of the Jan. 17 return to class, RNAO demanded the government prioritize school safety with KN95 masks provided to all children, mandatory vaccination for all education staff and a confirmed date for when excess rapid antigen tests are available. In addition, RNAO asks the government to urge parents to get vaccinated to maintain the safety of all children, and to publicly report school outbreaks to maintain transparency among staff and families. 

Please sign and share RNAO’s Action Alert calling on Premier Ford to implement mandatory vaccination for all education workers. 

Presentation to the Toronto Board of Health
On Jan. 17, RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun presented to the Toronto Board of Health about why children should not yet return to in-person learning amid the current health crisis. “There's no doubt that in-person learning is the preferred mode of teaching, but the issue is timing. What RNAO is recommending is that it not be during the peak of the rise of Omicron,” Dr. Grinspun said. Read RNAO’s full submission to the board online.

For a recap of the presentation, please visit YouTube and read RNAO’s Twitter thread.

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