It is back to school time soon for all students and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit is focusing its attention on helping local school districts finish their plans for making sure students and staff are protected against COVID-19 while still ensuring a good education for students.
It is back to school time soon for all students and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit is focusing its attention on helping local school districts finish their plans for making sure students and staff are protected against COVID-19 while still ensuring a good education for students.

Back to school plans get priority health attention

Gregg Chamberlain
EAP
Students all across Canada go back to school soon and local health officials are giving priority attention to making sure local school districts have their back-to-school pandemic safety plans prepared.

“Each school board has its own plan,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, chief medical officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), during his Monday (August 10) media teleconference.

The EOHU is working with all four of the school districts operating within its jurisdiction on addressing pandemic protection needs both for classrooms and other areas of schools within the region. The provincial government announced July 31 its plan for reopening Ontario schools reopen in September.

The provincial plan provides school districts with guidelines for several options to consider for their own plans, including regular classroom situations though with reduced student numbers to increasing dependence on distance learning programs. The province will also provide funding to hire 500 more school-focused nurses for regional health units.

Dr. Roumeliotis noted that the EOHU also has its own protocol in place for dealing with suspected COVID-19 cases in a school. The protocol provides various responses “depending on the situation.”

He also noted that ensuring the health safety of students when schools reopen in September will also depend on preventing any new cases of COVID-19 from occurring in the community at large. That means, he said, maintaining the current mandatory masking rule for indoor public areas and also the social distancing guidelines and limits on the number of people allowed to gather for social events and other activities.

Regional statistics

As of Monday, August 10, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases for the EOHU region is 179, with 163 of those cases now classed as resolved. That includes 118 cases in Prescott-Russell, of which 103 are classed as resolved. Prescott-Russell had 11 deaths resulting from a COVID-19 outbreak in a Plantagenet seniors residence. There are still four unresolved COVID-19 cases for the region.

The Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry region had 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 35 classed now as resolved. The Cornwall area had 25 confirmed cases and all are now classed as resolved.

There is one ongoing outbreak situation at Maxville Manor, a seniors living centre in Maxville in North Glengarry Township, where one staff member tested positive for the disease though he did not show any symptoms.

All residents of the manor were tested with negative results. The manor has been under quarantine for almost two weeks now without any other staff member or residents showing signs of infection. Dr. Roumeliotis expects the quarantine will be lifted within a few more days if no other cases appear.

More information on the COVID-19 situation for the EOHU region at www.eohu.ca.