Ontario Pushes Back to School to Jan.5, Introduces More Capacity Limits Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

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The Ontario government has said students and staff will return to the school for in-person learning on January 5, 2022, and is introducing capacity limits at large sites as it struggles to control the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The majority of classes in Ontario were previously scheduled to resume after winter break on Monday, but that was pushed back two days to Wednesday to give schools time to prepare.

“The Children’s Health Coalition – which represents children’s hospitals, mental health agencies and rehabilitation centers across Ontario – has emphasized that in-person education is essential for mental health, development and well-being. children and young people, ”the government said.

Dr. Kieran Moore, the province’s chief medical officer of health, made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

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Moore said all licensed school and child care staff will receive N95 masks as an optional alternative to medical / surgical masks.

The government has also said that more high-quality “three-ply” cloth masks will be provided free to students and children in January.

There will also be an updated COVID-19 screener for schools and daycares before return to school for “more rigorous symptom screening and monitoring.”

It is also pursuing eligibility for PCR testing for symptomatic students and staff.

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The province is also deploying 3,000 additional HEPA filters in schools, in addition to the 70,000 already provided.

Students will only be allowed to participate in low-contact indoor sports and safe extracurricular activities from January, the government said.

Moore also introduced new capacity limits for large indoor entertainment venues such as concert halls, spectator arenas (c. 31 at 00:01

There is already a 50% capacity limit for other indoor public places such as gymnasiums and restaurants.

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Meanwhile, Ontario reported a record 13,807 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

The province has also reported 965 people in general hospital wards with 200 patients in intensive care units due to illness linked to COVID-19, as hospitalizations are on the rise following the increase in Omicron cases.

The positivity of the tests also reached 30.5%, which means that nearly one in three tests comes back positive for COVID-19 – the highest rate ever.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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