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Letters: week of Aug. 20

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Class sizes put kids at risk

Sir: Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital’s stand on elementary school class size states: “size should be a priority and to include physical distancing.” Toronto School Board said this week to “keep class sizes down.” Dr.Tam’s advice is to “arrange schools so that physical distancing can happen.” Yet Premier Doug Ford is now saying that elementary school class sizes will be pre-Covid numbers. That’s 25 student and two teachers per classroom. Where is the physical distancing that Premier Ford has preached daily ad nauseam to Ontario for the last five months? Certainly not in elementary schools. Ford just finished berating people who had house parties that did not social distance, he called them a “bunch of yahoos.” But he promotes this scenario in elementary classes of 25 — a party with little or no social distancing. Ford’s alternative to classroom learning is online learning. So do mothers have to resign from their jobs in order to facilitate this online learning? If so, then the mother brings less income into the family, which translates into less economic spending for this family, provided families can even afford to do this. The government waited until the crisis in long term care was beyond critical before the Canadian Armed Forces were summoned in to help. Please don’t let the elementary schools be a repeat of a very hard learned lesson from long term care. Kids may very well be able to withstand the effects of Covid and may escape relatively unscathed, however, if they are carriers, they could be bringing home a potentially lethal infectious disease. Almost every type of  “group” in Canada has received some form of government compensation due to Covid, except for the elementary school children, who collectively have no voice for themselves. Premier Ford says he “hopes and prays” that every student will be safe. I hope for that as well, because the alternative could be catastrophically exponential. If Premier Ford claims he is “flexible and willing to adapt,” then reduce the class size numbers in elementary schools for September. Period.




Earlier service for geriatric patients was already in place

Sir: It was announced recently that Bluewater Health has established a new geriatric service, headed by Sarnia native Dr. Amanda Giffin.

It should be noted that the City of Sarnia and much of Lambton County has been served well for much of the past 34 years by a psychogeriatric service.

The Lambton Psychogeriatric Consultation Service began in 1986 at the Lochiel Kiwanis Centre. The team included an RN, an assistance co-ordinator and Dr. Alan Cooper, who used the same methodologies and principles at Dr. Giffin’s current initiative.

Patients were assessed in their homes, in nursing homes and hospitals. Reports were sent to family doctors, who often offered excellent feedback to our team members. The reports were important to family doctors and their patients.

The Bluewater Health program is somewhat more sophisticated with a Nurse Practitioner supporting Dr. Giffin, and a similar initiative is under consideration for the Charlotte Eleanor Englehart site in Petrolia.

But for 34 years our community has been well served by a program that gives our ever-growing seniors’ demographic excellent support and programs directed to their mental well-being.


Richard Sourkes



Good neighbour’s generous actions much appreciated

Sir: I would like to say a ‘Thank You’ to the citizen I saw recently collecting trash at Tecumseh Park.

I took my children to the skate park there and observed a community member walking their beautiful dog. I noticed they weren’t merely passing through, but actually wandering the grounds with a trash-grabbing tool.

For the next 45 minutes I watched this good neighbour fill multiple grocery bags with litter and transport them to the appropriate receptacles.

This “random act of kindness” not only demonstrated the neighbourly instincts of so many in our South End community, but also inspires us to remember that the power to act is always in our hands.

Thank you, good neighbour.


Joshua Walters



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