On Wednesday, KFL&A sought to answer the difference between people gathering in an indoor setting and in a classroom, which can see upwards of 20 students. Dr. Moore cites this as being the number one question asked over the last few weeks.
“It’s important to note that there is a significant difference between seeing people aggregate out in public versus in the school setting” Dr. Kieran Moore said.
In the video, Dr. Moore describes the various steps that are being taken at schools. First, Dr. Moore explains that parents are pre screening their children daily, which is not something that is done in public. Second, the schools use a number of hygienic products to maintain proper hand hygiene. Third, children are masked at the school and fourth, there are distancing measures being taken which help students remain in “cohorts.”
Environmentally, the schools undergo cleaning often. The schools staff must take a number of precautions which include wearing a face mask, shield and they must maintain hand hygiene.
Lastly, Dr. Moore explains that there is contacting tracking tracing at schools and that a quick follow up system for this is in place.
In response to the video, a number of parents disagreed with the messaging, stating that it was an attempt to comfort parents. Others described the video as “irresponsible” messaging. Several parents identified that their classrooms had upwards of 30 students per class. Others weren’t able to distinguish how these precautions were different than a normal retail establishment.
“My grade 12 daughter went for one day to her English class to find it was a class of 31, all practically touching each other. At lunch large gtoups of students went outside and hung together up close and unmasked. It was too anxiety inducing for her, so she’s switched to at home.” one parent said on Twitter.
Other comments included scepticism that all parents would pre-screen their children everyday. “Well My mom, sister, god sister, cousins get together and regale the family with interesting stories of how half the kids in their classes have never had a parent read to them. And your relying on these same parents to prescreen their children with diligence.” one comment said.
The Limestone District School Board has also explained what “self screening” entails. “All students and staff must self-screen every day before attending school. We will provide families and staff with a checklist to perform daily screening of their student before arriving at school. If a student or staff member is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, they must stay home from school and should seek testing and appropriate medical attention.” The school board website says.
This also comes at a time where Ontario’s major teaching unions have filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Board over the province’s school reopening plan. “No worker in the province of Ontario should be expected to sacrifice their health and safety, especially when there are such obvious measures the government could be taking to reduce the risk and prevent potential tragedies,” OSSTF president said to global news on August 31st.
In Ontario, school boards are required to follow the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 Management Plan for Schools. The plan outlines specific responsibilities for the school and public health officials. According to the plan:
Schools are responsible for:
- reporting a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case associated with the school to the local PHU and to the Ministry of Education through the daily reporting tool where they have become aware of such a case
- reporting absenteeism to the PHU and to EDU through the daily reporting tool, in accordance with provincial and/or local PHU direction
Local PHUs are responsible for:
- determining if an outbreak in a school exists
- managing the outbreak in collaboration with the school and other relevant partners
- determining when the outbreak can be declared over
We reached out to KFL&A over the comments about their recently published video but did not immediately receive a response.