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KFL&A Public Health: Keep schools open and safe

KFL&A Public Health. Photo by Lucas Mulder.

After a recent rise in COVID-19 cases at area schools, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health is emphasizing their confidence in the protocols in place at schools throughout the region.

“We understand that many local families may be feeling some uncertainty about sending students to school. We recognize your concerns and want to reassure you that the health and safety of students and staff is our priority. We are working together with school boards to take all necessary steps to prevent further spread of the virus, both in the school and the community,” KFL&A Public Health said in a press release on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.

“We are confident in the school’s protocols and recognize the importance of keeping schools open for the mental, social, and physical well-being of all students,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “Initial school investigations of positive cases reveal transmission is occurring outside of the school environment (e.g., neighbour activities or play dates). It is strongly recommended that even if students/staff are attending school with a single symptom (e.g., runny nose), they should avoid socializing at unstructured activities.”

Public Health said the region has been fortunate to have maintained consistently low infection rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and noted, “this is a critical time for individuals and families to continue to adhere to public health measures (e.g., screen students each day before school, stay home when ill, practice good hand hygiene, wear a mask, and physically distance).”

“Continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and screen all students daily, as most cases of COVID-19 are acquired in the home setting. If anyone in your household has or develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must self-isolate and should book an appointment at an assessment centre for testing as soon as possible. It is required that all household members that are NOT fully vaccinated must isolate until the individual with symptoms receives a negative COVID-19 test result or an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional,” the local Health Unit said, noting that if no one in your house has symptoms and no one has been advised to isolate, everyone can continue to go to work, school, or child care.

“We all have a role to play to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and the ongoing efforts of community members, health professionals, educators, families, and students will all contribute to a safe and healthy school environment,” Public Health said.

There are currently 21 active cases of COVID-19 at schools within the Limestone District School Board (LDSB), according to the Board’s list of active cases. Since Oct. 20, 2021, five new student cases have been identified at J. G. Simcoe Public School (outbreak declared), 11 students and one staff member case at R. G. Sinclair (outbreak declared), one student case at Rideau Heights Public School, one student case at Loyalist Collegiate & Vocational Institute, one student case at Molly Brant Elementary School, and one student case at Lord Strathcona Public School.

The Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB) currently has no active COVID-19 cases within its schools, according to the Board website.

The Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario is also currently reporting no active COVID-19 cases within its schools in the KFL&A region.

To learn more about COVID-19 from KFL&A Public Health, including how you can protect yourself, and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk, visit kflaph.ca/Coronavirus.

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