New Science Brief outlines guidance for return to in-person school
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the adverse impacts of school closures on the physical, mental and developmental health and well-being of children and youth. To help facilitate a safe return to in-person school in September 2021, a Science Brief has been created to provide guidance on COVID-19 mitigation measures for schools.
The Science Brief details permanent measures that can be used beyond the COVID-19 pandemic to protect against infectious diseases in the school setting, as well as temporary measures designed to minimize risks to students, staff and families in times when there may be higher community rates of severe COVID-19 causing hospitalizations. The new document also outlines recommendations for the re-initiation and maintenance of extracurricular activities, which are an important component of return-to-school plans.
The document was created by an interdisciplinary group of experts in paediatrics, infectious diseases, infection prevention and control, education, epidemiology, environmental and occupational health, indoor air quality, public health, school health, psychiatry and mental health, rural health, and Indigenous health. There was broad stakeholder engagement that included hospitals in Ontario (The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), CHEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre, McMaster Children’s Hospital and Unity Health Toronto, education administration (school boards, principals), the school community (educators, parents and students), and members of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.
To view the brief, visit the Science Table’s website.