The Ontario government is set to announce a two-week delay in re-opening schools, and will instead switch to online learning, according to Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, an infectious disease expert with the University Health Network in Toronto. Dr. Sharkawy released the update before any of the local media outlets reported on it, leading to some criticism.
Dr. Sharkawy announced to his 60,000 Twitter followers Sunday night that the Ford government will be announcing a return to online school for the next two weeks. According to the doctor, “[Ontario goverment] to announce (imminently) schools will go online for the next 2 weeks. As bitter a pill for some who will struggle mightily during this time, this will afford some needed time to upgrade safety measures, defuse the surge of Omicron.”
This move lead to concerns about children’s mental health, as well as that of parents. According to author Amber Mac, “I am so concerned about the mental / physical health of our kids and more online school – especially tweens / teens. I’m also concerned about the extra stress at-home learning adds to the lives of many parents, especially those part of the female labor force.” Many other high profile accounts criticized the move, with musician Tara Slone criticizing the Ford government’s lack of preparation.
Interestingly, the closure of schools has not been announced by local media. According to CP24, “Premier Doug Ford met with his cabinet to discuss possible measures to preserve hospital capacity and keep schools open amid the spread of the Omicron variant.” The closure of schools was not mentioned in the article, at the time of writing.
Some journalists have raised objections to Dr. Sharkawy’s statements. Journalist Cristina Tenaglia indirectly referred to the doctor’s tweets when she wrote, “every newsroom follows their own newsroom’s editorial standards / practices before reporting info, to ensure accuracy / to avoid rumour and speculation. Those who aren’t journos aren’t subject to these important ‘checks’ before reporting info. Please be safe. Logging off!” Some went as far to claim Dr. Sharkawy has “no idea what he is taking about.”
Like what you read? Share it with a friend on Facebook!