Teachers at low risk of COVID-19 if there is proper prevention, says Ontario’s top doctor

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TORONTO – Ontario teachers “will not be at risk” of catching COVID-19 in the classroom as long as students and educators adhere to infection prevention protocols, according to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Dr David Williams said Thursday that educators would be at no higher risk of exposure to the virus than any other frontline worker, including healthcare workers and grocery store clerks.

“By doing what you need to do every time, all the time and being aware of it, you are not going to be at risk,” said Dr Williams.

The comments come amid a pitched battle between educators and the Ford government over the back-to-school plan, which many teachers say is dangerous and puts workers and students at risk of contracting the virus.

Teachers are calling for elementary classes of no more than 15 students per teacher to ensure good physical distance at all times.

Dr Williams, however, said that “hundreds of thousands of doctors and different groups” have weighed in on Ontario’s back-to-school plan and determined that the reopening plan is safe.

“If we didn’t think it was safe, if our experts told me it wasn’t safe, if those looking at our data and information said it wasn’t safe… I would take advice,” said Williams to reporters at Queen’s Parc.

Dr Williams was also asked if he would recommend, as a grandfather, sending his own grandchildren back to school.

“Yes, I would,” he said.

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