RNAO is keenly aware of the importance of schools for the mental, social and physical health of children, as well as for their academic development. The pandemic has been very hard for everyone and in particular for young students and their parents. However, the risk of reopening schools for the remaining three weeks of the academic year is too high.
Schools have closed their doors for the holidays following the remarkable experience of having come back to classes in September while doing their best to protect children and staff from a pandemic. Public health nurses have played a central role and the following article provides insight into their contribution. I am grateful to Heather Lokko, RN MPH CCHN(C) (Chief Nursing Officer & Healthy Start Director, Middlesex-London Health Unit, and OPHNL Chief Nursing Officer Network Liaison), Irmajean Bajnok, RN MScN PhD FCAN (Senior Policy Analyst, RNAO), and David Groulx, RN, BScN, MPH, CCHN(C) (President OPHNL, and Manager, Professional Practice and School Health, Public Health Sudbury & Districts) who authored the article.
There is little doubt that school reopening in September is one of the most crucial policy decisions in terms of the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario and everywhere else. Ontario has about two million school age children and 160,000 teachers – those are huge numbers.