Experts said they agreed that getting children back to school for “full-time face-to-face learning, with appropriate risk mitigation strategies to keep everyone safe, is the ultimate goal.”
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The group analyzed the latest data and information not only from Ontario, but also from Canada and the rest of the world.
Experts have said children are not the COVID-19 super-spreaders they initially thought they were. Although children can spread the virus, it seems that its frequency is much lower than initially expected.
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“While this may, at least in part, be related to testing strategies and test performance in children and youth as well as early school closure, there is some evidence that children, in particular those under the age of 10, could be less susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2 and potentially less likely to transmit the virus to others, ”the paper reads.
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However, some data suggests that children over 10 years old can transmit the virus at the same rate as adults.
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Experts said the focus should be on the “safety and well-being” of children rather than helping parents and guardians to return to work.
When it comes to the school calendar, the Ontario government has offered several options for school boards, including remote, hybrid / adaptive, and daily in-person models.
Experts recommend, however, that children return to a daily school model, “with risk mitigation strategies in place.”
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The document also highlighted the value of a daily school model with regard to social and economic inequalities.
“An important factor to consider in this regard is the emerging evidence indicating inequalities in the social and economic burden of COVID-19, which may further disadvantage children / youth living in areas where the infection burden is higher. where educational inequalities and barriers to online learning may be more pronounced, ”the paper says.
“Therefore, back to school and implementation prioritization decisions should be based on the principle of equity for all children and young people.
The document presents 16 recommendations below:
1. Screening to prevent symptomatic individuals to enter school
2. Hand hygiene
3. Physical distancing
4. Non-medical and medical face masks for students
6. Environmental cleaning
8. Risk mitigation for higher risk students
for serious illness
9. Special considerations for children and young people
medical, physical, developmental and / or
10. Mental health awareness and support for all children
11. Protection of teachers and school personnel
12. Protection of individuals or families at risk
13. Management of suspected and confirmed cases
SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 cases and their contacts
14. Communicate about COVID-19 to children,
young people and parents / guardians
15. Opportunities to improve evidence-informed decision-making
16. Additional considerations
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