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Parents of immunocompromised or otherwise at-risk children won’t need to be told to keep their kids home. Same goes for teachers, obviously, though again, COVID-19 has been much less fatal to people of working age — just four per cent of fatalities have been under 60 — than the average year’s flu. Other than that, Canadian governments should be operating on the principle that the 2020–21 school year starts on schedule for everyone. To indulge anything else is to risk it coming true.
It’s not risk-free. There is nothing close to an expert consensus on this. All the relative risk figures I’m citing are products of the COVID-19 lockdown; no one can say for sure what will happen when it lifts in earnest (though the American south is conducting a useful, if terribly alarming experiment in that regard). But there can be no dispute, surely, about the economic impact of kids staying home in September. There is a growing body of research, which makes perfect intuitive sense, suggesting the lockdown itself is having serious negative effects on children — in particular the children who can least afford it, in every sense.
There has been much to criticize in Ontario’s pandemic response, goodness knows. But no one can reasonably accuse the government of recklessly reopening — quite the opposite, in my view, and by Labour Day I suspect a lot more people will agree with me. On school reopening, it’s time for Lecce and Premier Doug Ford to say enough is enough.