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Child care advocates address mental health concerns as remote learning continues this school year

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The Ford government announced on Wednesday students would stay remote for the remainder of this academic year
Herd, Tim
Publication Date: 
3 Jun 2021


On Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced students in the province would stick to remote learning for the remainder of the school year. 

However, child care advocates believe it is the wrong move because of the impact on a student's mental health. 

"We've seen through research some concerning data that supports our kids aren't doing that well," said Kimberly Moran, CEO of Children's Mental Health Ontario during the Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS. 

"Two-thirds of youth have reported their mental health has gotten worse over the pandemic ... we also know that 60 per cent of parents are reporting behavioural changes in their kids, such as outbursts, drastic changes in mood, and sleep difficulties." 

Moran continued and said that come September, what needs to happen is resuming regular in-school learning as close as possible to what it looked like pre-pandemic. 

"We know that student's social, developmental, and mental health needs are very much met in an in-person setting, so we want to get kids back to some normalcy," and mentioned there needs to be more support for kids who have learning challenges. 

"We know that there are kids that don't do well online, and we need to support them from a learning perspective, we also need to make sure we have the right mental health treatments for kids." 

Moran added the Ford government has not put children and youth at the centre of COVID-19 policy and is worried their issues will get put on hold as other constituencies will want their priorities met. 

"But, I think there's an opportunity right now for the Premier and his government to change course, and make kids the focus of their COVID-19 recovery ... (because) the long term impact is so significant, as these are the kids who are going to be our leaders in the future."