"This is astonishing to me that we're hearing public musings from the chief medical officer of health about reopening schools when there has been no proposed plan (and) there has been absolutely no transparency around the metrics upon which they're basing this", Bischof said in an interview.
A spokesperson for the premier's Office provided a copy of Ford's letter to Daily Hive but did not answer questions about why the government is pursuing advice on opening schools so publicly instead of relying on its Science Table for expertise.
He added, "I don't want to rush this, if it takes a couple of extra days so be it".
During today's update, Ford expressed concerns with the COVID-19 variant stemming from India, citing it as a reason to be cautious when it comes to moving forward with the reopening plan.
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board also indicated a few days of preparation would be needed to resume in-person learning.
Ford sent a letter to various stakeholders Thursday, including the advisory tables, health officials, school boards and teachers, asking for advice on whether it would be safe to reopen for in-person learning.
In the letter Ford says that his government understands "the mental health, academic and other challenges some students have faced with at-home learning, particularly those from low-income, racialized and high needs neighbourhoods".
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"We closed pre-emptively because while we knew the schools were safe and there wasn't ongoing transmission within the schools, with the overwhelming increase in the community numbers that rose up rapidly in the third wave we could not guarantee with our public health monitoring at the time to assure the parents of their safety", he said.
In an open letter, Ford admits there a wide range of advice and commentary about reopening Ontario schools.
"If deemed safe, a return to in-person learning would end school on a positive note for a year that saw many interruptions".
"That could equal to thousands of cases", he said, referencing the potential 11 per cent increase in transmission. "I want to make sure that we are able to get the kids in camps, I want to make sure we have a great September for the kids to go back to school and this (opening schools) could effect our reopening as well". I want other educational workers to weigh in.
It should be noted that while Ford has so far refused to commit to reopening schools a number of top children's hospitals, including SickKids, have repeatedly advocated for a return to the classroom.
Toronto is among the units that feel prepared to reopen schools, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa told Ford. "Our schools have shown incredible creativity in finding unique learning opportunities to make things work, including outdoor classrooms, and are prepared to continue this effort". "Ultimately, this is our government's decision, but in light of the foregoing, and the diversity of perspectives on the safety of reopening schools, I am asking for your views on a number of issues".
"We believe with the current public health measures in place in schools, decreasing case counts and ever-increasing COVID-19 population vaccination rates (including school personnel) that it is time to re-open our schools".