'Outbreaks in schools are inevitable,' Experts say careful planning is paramount for back to school
BARRIE, ONT. -- A European expert on pediatric infectious diseases claims that "outbreaks in schools are inevitable."
However, Otto Helve, with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, adds that with changes to daily school routines, going to school far outweighs the risks.
When schools locked the doors in March, may educators and child psychologists voiced concerns about the mental health of children.
Medical experts with SickKids hospital recently released a report that found evidence to show young children don't play a "significant role" in spreading COVID-19, compared to teenagers and adults.
They recommended sending students back to the classroom full time, with measures in place like daily screenings, physical distancing, and cohorting.
All the information has weighed heavily for parents struggling to decide whether to send their children back into schools in September.
Many local school boards have given parents one week to give their decision. The Simcoe County District School Board sent an online survey for parents to submit notifying their choice to either send their kids back to class or continue virtual learning at home.
Officials with local school boards say they need the information to build a plan for the fall, which includes bus transportation safety measures. They estimate between 10 and 20 per cent of students would continue online learning from home.
For those who will return, boards have been working on a plan to limit student contact. "We're doing things like staggered recesses, staggered entry into the school," explained Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board Interim Director of Education Catherine McCullough.
Meanwhile, many parents have expressed more answers are needed before choosing.
School officially resumes on September 8.