Pack a lunch and a mask. For back to school, Canada has new guidelines on what can be done and wearing masks is recommended. Though there are other things to do along with having face coverings on.
During a press conference on August 7, Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Howard Njoo gave an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and spoke about going back to school.
Dr. Tam noted that it's still not entirely known how efficiently children under 10 years old transmit the virus but that they generally have mild symptoms.
They announced the guidelines that the Public Health Agency of Canada has published to support administrators from kindergarten to grade 12 and local public health authorities in safely resuming in-person learning.
A layered approach is recommended which means that there shouldn't just be one measure in place to protect students and teachers, but multiple.
The guidelines also have strategies to implement physical distancing in classrooms.
Since that might not always be possible, Dr. Tam explained this is where the layered approach would come in.
That could include physical barriers, proper hand hygiene and masks.
"There is no one size fits all solution," she said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada wants teachers and staff at schools to be encouraged to wear face masks and eye protection like face shields.
For students, age-appropriate language should be used to remind them how to use their masks and how to follow other measures like hand washing.
It was noted that face coverings shouldn't be worn by anyone who can't remove them without assistance.
To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested 4,319,172 people for #COVID19, w\ an average ~3% positive overall. Over the pas… https://t.co/AB5XaWbGif— Dr. Theresa Tam (@Dr. Theresa Tam) 1596813007.0
Canada's top doc said that in-person learning and socializing is important.
"If we want schools to reopen safely and people going back to increased attendance at universities, we have to right now keep the transmission down," she said.
Some provinces have released their own plans for September.
In some Ontario high schools, students will split their time between in-person and online classes and be in cohorts of 15.
Alberta will be installing hand sanitizer stations and planning the day so there can be physical distancing.