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LETTER: Reader thrilled students are returning to class, but worried about lack of information

'I’m fairly certain that most parents would still prefer to know when, if, and how many children are being infected within each classroom'
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GuelphToday received the following letter from Laura Lambert regarding the return to in-person learning announcement:

Dear Editor

I think I speak for most parents across the region when I say we are thrilled to hear that the schools will resuming in person learning on Jan. 17. Without a doubt, children belong in a safe classroom.

I was pleased to hear Minister Lecce announce that rapid tests will become more available in the coming days and weeks and that our dedicated educators, administrators, and staff will be provided with more substantial PPE.

When these changes occur, they will be important steps in the right direction, and I hope they arrive in time for Monday’s return to class. We’ll see. However, like many other parents in the community, I have some real concerns around the lack of information provided to parents regarding positive COVID-19 cases in the classroom.

I’m fairly certain that most parents would still prefer to know when, if, and how many children are being infected within each classroom. Yesterday, Minister Lecce and Dr. Moore both mentioned the importance of “empowering” parents. I agree that parental empowerment is crucial as we wade into these uncharted waters, but how can one feel empowered when we are fumbling around in the dark with no information about what is going on in our child’s classroom?

I accept that we are going to have to create a “new normal” as we move forward with COVID-19 but like anything else, information is power and without it, parents are left with fear and uncertainty because the ability to make informed decisions about their children has been kept out of their hands.

This critical information would allow parents to protect their children as they see fit and perhaps more importantly, allow us to make more informed decisions about how we live our day to days lives.

For example, if I knew three children in son’s class had tested positive one week, I would probably make different choices about what we did, who we saw, and where we went that weekend. This would protect the community at large which should be a good thing as we watch our hospitalization rates continue to climb.

I do not expect public health, the schools, or the school boards to take on the impossible task of contact tracing as cases in rise in our schools but I would just simply request that when there is a positive case in a classroom, you “empower” the parents to make the best choices for their child, their family, and the community. There is nothing empowering about keeping parents in the dark.

Laura Lambert
Guelph, Ont.