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Health Unit hoping schools can re-open

'So let us work together to keep the case numbers down'
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The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. Jeff Turl/BayToday.

The region's Chief Medical Officer is trying to stay optimistic about the possibility of children and teens in the region returning to in-class learning before the end of this school year.  

Dr. Jim Chirico, Chief Medical Officer, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit says they recognize how significant it is keeping kids out of school. 

"It is very hard on their mental and physical well being and we worked very hard from the beginning of the pandemic to keep kids in school because we recognized how important it was," said Dr. Chirico during last Thursday's online media conference.  

"Even when there was a shutdown before and we had the option and we chose to keep kids in school."

Chirico credits school boards and staff for following guidelines.  There was a handful of schools that closed due to COVID-19 cases such as Ecole secondaire Algonquin and Sunset Park public school back in February. 

See related: COVID-19 closes Sunset Park 

See related: Sunset Park is set to re-open

See related: Updated: Students from Ecole secondaire Algoquin sent home due to COVID-19

However, Chirico notes that no cases in area schools have led them to declare a school outbreak.  

"The education here; the teachers, the staff, the administration, they did a fantastic job with prevention and control measures in place and we did not have school outbreak," said Chirico. 

"So I am really hoping we will be able to get the kids back in school, however, the best way to do that is really for everybody to work hard. If you can keep the community transmission of the disease low then there is going to be a lower risk for the kids in school.

Chirico says keeping those case numbers down in the district is the main thing everyone has to focus on.

"So let us work together to keep the case numbers down," said Dr. Chirico.  

"That is going to influence the decision to go back to school to get the kids back. So I am hopeful if the trends change - because ours is starting to increase - so if they start decreasing and people do what they are needed to do then yes I am hopeful we will be able to do it but again it is ever-evolving and it can change at any time." 

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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