When children, staff, and teachers return to in-person learning on Monday, they will do so amid COVID-19 hospitalizations, but not reporting cases of the virus, declaring an outbreak, or having too many children sick Without the previous protocol for dismissing classes. ,
Families will no longer have to report positive tests and will no longer be told whether other children in their children’s classes have tested positive for the virus. This is largely because there are not enough COVID-19 tests available as per health ministry documents sent to schools.
“Given the widespread transmission and the inability to test all symptomatic individuals, schools will not regularly notify students/pupils with a positive case, or if any child/student or staff is absent due to symptoms associated with COVID-19, “Interim Guidance for Schools and Child Care: Omicron Surge”.
Any closure of classes or schools will be done because of “operational requirements”, which means there are not enough teachers to teach. The province closed schools for an additional two weeks after the winter break, partly due to staff shortages due to omicron cases among teachers and concerns about the need to self-isolate.
“The reopening of schools on Monday is based on “somewhat prematurely expected,” said Craig Smith, president of the union representing elementary teachers at the Thames Valley District School Board.
The new protocols are in stark contrast to what was in place before the winter break, which saw daily reporting of the number of cases in each school, emails sent home when a positive case was detected in a classroom and classes closed when a child was suspected . To transmit the virus to another child.
london morning8:39Back to In-Person Learning
Dr. Alex Summers, acting medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, said most COVID transmission occurs in “unstructured and unregulated environments”, not in schools.
“It begs the question, what can we do to reduce the risk of COVID transmission in those environments? The important thing to note is that there are also risks of not having children in school, and that may be at home or inside the COVID-19.” community during activities that sometimes take the place of being at school.”
‘We all want to come back’
The potential exists for Omicron to spread rapidly to schools, but the fact remains that other activities remain closed, he said.
“Right now, the only really essential activity we should be doing for kids is being in school. That means we’re not doing playdates. We’re not having sleepovers. We’re making sure those with symptoms Children are not going into the classroom, that masks are well fitted and worn, that vaccinations are available to as many students, teachers and staff as possible.”
Still, not much has changed since the province closed schools, Smith said.
“The virtual option isn’t ideal for teachers, it certainly isn’t ideal for students and it has been challenging for parents. There’s no question we all want to get back to school,” Smith said. .
“But the important question is, what has changed? From an organizational standpoint in schools, the answer is, absolutely nothing.”
A Thames Valley spokesman said the province promised N95 masks for teachers who arrived last week. The province said about 80 HEPA units will help filter the air in classrooms without circulation later this month.
Vaccination of most teachers
“Masking would certainly assist,” Smith said. “I think what we’ll find is that after we go back, we’ll have this conversation again in a couple of weeks.”
About 97 percent of teachers in the Thames Valley are vaccinated, the highest rate in the province. However, teachers are still falling ill with the virus and others have had to call on the sick to self-isolate or take care of sick family members.
“If it’s not Omicron that shuts down schools, it would be teacher absenteeism, both in classrooms and sometimes to replace teachers,” Smith said. “It’s still a big problem.”
More than 90 percent of children ages 12 to 17 have been vaccinated twice, and more than half of children ages five to 11 have received at least one dose.