Samantha Li / Edge columnist

Starting last July, as the pandemic seemingly going to its end, businesses and workplaces began to reopen. Last September, schools in B.C. and other provinces went back to the regular classroom. However, recently, as the number of COVID-19 cases increases and the spread of the new variant, various opinions about the close-down of schools and public facilities aroused. In fact, closing these institutions are not so effective to the current pandemic, and can even lead to greater economical problems.

According to an article on DH News written by Vincent Plana, in terms of closing schools, the Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia, Dr. Bonnie Henry, suggested that, “what we have also learned is that we see cases go up when children are not in school, and that is often because they have other unstructured time.”

Since school is a relatively regulated area, where safety rules can be better implemented, the province can take more effective actions inside the school to ensure the protection. “The same measures that we take make a difference in preventing that transmission, and we have the measures in place that we know will work,” said Henry.

In addition, indicated in the article “How parts of Canada are going about vaccinating teachers against COVID-19” written by Jessica Wong, provinces and territories are now moving into the next phase of the coronavirus vaccination process. Educators and school staff are now considered as part of the priority eligible for shots. Another news on CBC also says that “Take-home COVID-19 tests are now available for Vancouver kids who start feeling sick at school”. These recent updates show the increase of the security level of students staying in school, give a better vision of the future.

On the side of closing businesses and workplaces, statistics have indicated that in the past year of COVID-19, domestic flights are down 35 percent and international flights 77 percent, sales in restaurants are down 52 percent, while household and business excess cash is now over $180 billion, causing more pressure on the economy, according to “Coronavirus: COVID-19 and the Canadian economy, one year later” by Mike Drolet on Global News.

As the Statistics of Canada shows, last year when the country was locked down, the unemployment rate in May went up to 13.6 compared to the 5.4 of the same month from the previous year. There is also a report recently claims that the “Canadian economy added 303,000 jobs in March as COVID-19 restrictions eased”. Stopping businesses from running might be a big risk to most people and might create further economical gaps based on these shreds of evidence.

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In many aspects, a close-down of schools and businesses appears to be unnecessary and can result in higher concerns. It would be a lot better if people can focus on enhancing the level of protection, instead of just simply requesting things to stop.


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