Health Units working with school boards for safe return to school

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Belleville, ON, Canada / Quinte News

The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Unit along with the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health are working together with local school boards to provide a safe and welcoming learning environment for students and staff this September.

As announced today by the Ontario Premier, Doug Ford and the Minister of Education, Stephen Leece, Ontario elementary and secondary schools will return to classes in September.

HPEPH and KFL&A Public Health have been working together with school boards throughout the summer to plan enhanced processes and safety measures to support various return to school options.

Details about these processes are being finalized in order to align with the recent provincial announcement.

Additional information will be shared with parents, students, and staff in the coming weeks to help everyone prepare for changes in the school environment.

Acting Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH Dr. Alexa Caturay says as the local risk of COVID- 19 continues to evolve, we are working diligently to help local children, youth and staff return to school safely and access the educational, social, and developmental benefits of the school environment.

“While it is possible that infections may occur in the school environment despite enhanced public health measures, we have processes in place to identify cases quickly and reduce potential exposure to others. It is also important to remember that the majority of COVID-19 infections among children, youth, and individuals without underlying health concerns are mild, and can be managed at home with a full recovery,” she explained.

HPEPH, KFL&A Public Health, and local school boards recognize that kids, parents, caregivers, and staff may have concerns about returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The community can be reassured that there are existing processes in place to respond to any cases or outbreaks of infectious disease in the school environment, and that public health and education partners are working together to implement many additional protocols to reduce the potential spread of illness among students.