The region’s top doctor isn’t happy with the province’s decision to push the return of students to class until September but is looking to move forward. 

“Yes, we are disappointed. I think that when we weighed the benefits and the risks, we felt the risks were manageable and benefits outweighed the risks and that’s why we recommended having in person learning,” he said in the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s weekly update. 

Dr. Chirico said the health unit saw a significant impact on the mental and social well-being of kids, alerted to it not only by schools but also by primary care.

He said the health unit has worked successfully with school boards up to this point to prevent outbreaks and transmission within schools.

However the decision has been made, Chirico said, and now the focus shifts to getting everybody immunized as soon as possible.

Shannon Mantha, Executive Director of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer echoed his disappointment but said she understands the province’s decision. 

“We truly understand the disruption to the 2020-2021 school year is really unprecedented in modern history so the complexity of the decision-making at the provincial level is unprecedented as well, So while we have advocated for of person learning definitely in our district we do understand that there are other factors that came into play in the provincial decision and […] we’re shifting our focus now to ensure that the return to school in September is really successful,” she said.

Mantha said this means having support available for students over the summer and their families as well as, really prioritizing student well-being for when they return in September.