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OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) — Pressure from top pediatric organizations, the public, and big-city municipal politicians helped in getting schools in the Canadian province of Ontario to re-open for in-person learning next week.

On Friday, a trio of pediatric organizations criticized the Ontario government under Premier Doug Ford for keeping schools closed to in-person learning, instead going with what they called “harmful” online learning.

“Online learning is harmful. Social isolation and prolonged in-person school closures have precipitated increases in unhealthy behaviours — such as excessive screen time, reduced physical activity, and substance use — and prevented children and youth from engaging in protective behaviours, such as connecting with their peers, participating in sports and recreation, and celebrating milestones,” reads a joint statement signed by seven doctors from the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Paediatrics Section of the Ontario Medical Association, and the Paediatricians Alliance of Ontario.

“As paediatricians, our life’s work is protecting the health and well-being of children and youth … Yet over the course of the pandemic, we have learned that certain decisions and measures pose a far greater risk to children and youth than the virus itself.”

On January 10, Ford’s office confirmed in a statement that in-person instruction would resume on January 17.

Students in all grades will be mandated to wear masks all day, according to the Ministry of Education, and can only remove them when outside, or when eating or drinking.

Dr. Paul Elias Alexander argued that mask wearing in kids is “absurd, illogical, nonsensical, and potentially dangerous.”

School boards say the Ontario Ministry of Education “can create reasonable exceptions to wearing a mask,” if they so choose.

In terms of COVID jabs, for now the Ontario government says they will not be made mandatory for students.

However, schools will be giving out COVID rapid test kits which they say will be “voluntary.”

Many, including a consortium of “Big City” Ontario municipal mayors, demanded Ford re-open schools as soon as possible.

On January 3, Ford had announced new COVID restrictions, closing schools, imposing a mandatory work-from-home order for jobs that don’t need an in-person presence, closing all in-person dining, recreation facilities, gyms, and arts, and capping retail and church size to 50 percent capacity.

Pediatricians: Kids will be dealing with ‘fallout’ from public health measures for ‘years’ 

The pediatricians in their joint statement to Ford said that “too many children and youth” will feel the negative effects “of the past 22 months” and will be dealing with “the fallout from public health measures for years.”

“In our hospitals and clinics, we see the results: increased depression and anxiety, suicidality, eating disorders, learning losses, and delayed development. These clinical observations are reflected at the population level and have been documented by researchers across the country,” said the pediatricians. “The deteriorating health and well-being of our children and youth is also a public health emergency.”
The doctors said that data shows that the closing of schools during the other “waves” of the COVID crisis “has been an ineffective strategy.”

Studies from British Columbia — where schools have been open since May 2020 — show that while cases of COVID-19 in schools do indeed reflect the level of virus in the community, there are few transmissions in school,” said the group.

The pediatricians confirmed what many studies have shown, in that COVID does not cause “serious illness in most children and youth, nor has there been an unmanageable increase in paediatric hospitalizations due to the virus.”

“But there has been increased strain on paediatric and community hospitals due to mental health admissions. The demands on child and youth health care providers since the start of the pandemic have been relentless. We urge you to return children and youth to in-person learning no later than January 17th and to commit to no further disruptions to the 2021-22 school year,” wrote the pediatricians.

Just recently, the Ontario government admitted that around 46 percent of general virus hospitalizations and 17 precent of COVID ICU admissions are in fact in people who have tested positive for the virus, but were in hospital for a different reason.

The Ford government has since the start of the crisis used COVID hospital numbers as justification for lockdowns, including school closures, as well as segregating the unvaccinated from certain aspects of life through vaccine passports.

Recent data from Ontario as well as Alberta and Quebec however shows that most people in hospitals due to COVID are “fully vaccinated.”

In all provinces in Canada, the majority of new COVID “cases” are in those who are fully jabbed.