Toronto schools to gradually resume extracurricular activities

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WATCH ABOVE: With ongoing fears about the COVID-19 fourth wave and how it will affect the return to schools, Toronto Public Health has recommended they pause extracurricular activities. While Toronto is moving forward with the measure, Peel Region’s MOH said it’s not necessary at this point. Matthew Bingley reports. – Sep 9, 2021

Extracurricular activities will soon be allowed to resume at Toronto schools under updated guidance from public health officials.

Toronto school boards had put a pause on extracurriculars, field trips and high contact sports with mixed cohorts at the beginning of the school year in September under the advice from Toronto Public Health (TPH) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) called the news “encouraging.”

Read more: 86% of TDSB students want to return for in-person learning amid stricter COVID-19 protocols

“We know how important these activities are to students’ mental and physical health and overall school experience,” the statement said.

On Monday, TPH said recommended that some, but not all activities, can resume. Under the new guidance, schools can see a return of clubs, sports teams, bands (without wind and brass instruments) and extracurricular activities. However, the agency said schools should “prioritize the gradual return of lower risk activities and activities that occur outdoors” before others.

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These activities should be introduced once schools have established “their routines and student cohorts, and are confident in their health and safety protocols,” TPH said in a release Monday.

For both the return of field trips and activities, TPH is recommending they should begin to be offered to students between the ages of 12 and 17, due to them being eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.

Read more: 3 east-end Toronto schools have confirmed cases of COVID-19: public health

It is recommended students be limited in the number of activities they can participate in to limit contact between cohorts.

While the TDSB and Toronto Catholic District School Board put a pause on activities, other boards across the province and GTA, including Peel Region allowed them to move forward under strict guidelines.

You can find a full list of the updated guidance here.

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