Mayor Christian Provenzano is commending Algoma Public Health's decision to delay today's planned re-opening of Sault high schools until at least Jan. 25.
"I want to express my support to Algoma Public Health for making the decision that they made to adjust the return to school, which we were expecting today," the mayor said at the beginning of Monday's City Council meeting.
"I think it is a good decision that our high school students are not currently in school."
Local elementary schools did re-open on Monday but parents were asked to restrict in-person instruction to situations involving special health or educational needs or essential work.
"I want to thank all of the parents of elementary students who are working through the challenges of having your children at home," Provenzano said.
"For those of us who can keep our children at home, it makes the classroom safer because there are less children in the classroom."
"I want to thank all the teachers and the ECEs (early childhood educators) and our daycare workers for really being the heroes that they are during this, and doing the hard work every day trying to teach our children while keeping our children safe," Provenzano said.
The mayor talked about the recent surge in local COVID-19 cases, suggesting they could have been avoided.
"It's important we all recognize that the cases we're seeing reported right now are due to occurrences about 10 to 14 days ago."
"So there would be a lag from when you see a case, from the activity that led to that case."
"A lot of the cases that we're seeing in our community are close contact and some of them are of unknown origin."
"One of the takeaways from that is that we can control these numbers to the degree that we can improve them."
"We can improve them by our own conduct on a day-to-day basis."
"If we focus on the public health advice we're receiving, and if we collectively abide by the public health advice, we will see our numbers drop 10 to 14 days from now."
"I'm hoping that we see our numbers drop next week and the week after because I'm hoping that a number of people adjusted their behaviour after the new year began."
"I think a lot of the activity that we're seeing stemmed from activity that occurred over Christmas and New Year's."
The mayor repeated advice on keeping safe from the pandemic:
- as much as you can, stay home
- when you are out and about, wear a mask and make sure you keep a physical distance of at least two metres between you and anybody who doesn't live in your household
- wash hands frequently
- try to avoid touching your face
- if you don't feel well, don't go to work
- if your children don't fee welll, don't send them to school and make sure you get a COVID test
"In Sault Ste. Marie, I am very confident and optimistic that we can turn our numbers around, and we could make sure that our numbers are as low as possible if we all agree to collectively follow the public health advice that we're receiving," Provenzano said.
Secondary schools in Algoma District communities outside of Sault Ste. Marie re-opened Monday.