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Quebec continues to push to delay return to school amid concerns about the safety of COVID-19-nationwide

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Quebec’s new semester plan to return to face-to-face classes on Monday includes incidents and hospitalizations Omicron The variant is set to peak.

Governments and public health authorities have categorically argued that the benefits of returning to school outweigh the risks.

Dr. Yves Jarbert, Deputy Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health, pointed out the negative effects of distance learning observed during the early waves. COVID-19 (new coronavirus infection) A pandemic as a reason to promote face-to-face lessons. Some of the problems he cited were psychological distress, loss of motivation, school delays, obesity, eating disorders, morbid screen use, and increased family problems.

Westwood High School teacher Catherine Hogan agrees that online education is not ideal, but is wondering about the time frame.

“We don’t want to be online for a long time,” she said.

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“But while the state is still at the peak of the wave, I suspect that the numbers have dropped a bit for another week online, and that hospitalizations have dropped a bit.”

Others are wondering the same.

Dr. Christos Karazios, an expert on pediatric infectious diseases, said:

COVID-stop, a group of doctors and scientists, has issued a petition requesting that face-to-face lessons be delayed by at least two weeks.

They are also promoting safer measures, such as providing teachers with N95 masks as needed.

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Hogan said he had already bought some for himself and his colleagues before returning home on Monday, but said they were quite expensive.

At a technical briefing on Friday, Jalbert said N95 masks are not needed at school.

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However, unless it is held outdoors, a surgical mask is always required, even during physical education classes. Students can eat and drink with their face uncovered.

Jalbert acknowledged that the N95 mask was designed to filter the aerosol that the surgical mask could pass through, but said it was not useful because it was difficult to wear properly for long periods of time.

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Both Karatzios and Nancy Delagrave, a physicist who is the scientific coordinator of COVID-Stop, are controversial.

She quoted a study at the University of Michigan where people improperly wore masks.

“It protected 6.25 times better than surgical masks, and when they were installed, it was 25 times better,” Delagrave said.

She also criticized the government’s new semester plan for not dealing with aerosols and airborne infections.

But the government claims that schools throughout the state are safe and ready to accept students.

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Critics were worried about Quebec’s efforts to ensure school air quality

Over 60% of classrooms have carbon dioxide detectors used to measure air quality. High levels of CO2 indicate poor air quality. This means that if someone in your class is infected with the virus, the air may contain certain contaminants such as SARS-CoV-2.

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Quebec says that air filters to improve air quality are not needed in most situations. In the absence of mechanical ventilation, the government continues to recommend opening windows to improve air circulation.

“The Ontario government has installed 120,000 air purifiers, so we’re really late. In fact, Ontario has a quarter of school infections, so it works. “We do,” Delagrave argued.

Jarbert added that the Ministry of Health is supporting efforts to improve school ventilation and comfort, but does not consider air quality to be an important factor according to other public health guidelines. ..

Jarbert said the best defense against Omicron remains vaccination. He has already had high immunization rates among teens, less serious health consequences for children, and for teachers as important factors behind the decision to allow them to return to school. Pointed out the availability of a third booster vaccination.

He also said that monitoring student symptoms is essential to ensure a safe return. Approximately 7.2 million rapid test kits will be distributed in both elementary and high schools from January to February.

If the student has symptoms, the student and all family contacts should be quarantined for 5 days. Students will need two negative and quick tests before returning to school.

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COVID-19 — Millions of faster tests sent to Quebec pharmacies

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Jarbert explained that the virus is more likely to spread throughout the family because masks are not used at home.

Karatzios isn’t just worried about quarantining for five days.

“That’s positive, but dad and mom have to go to work, so go,” he said.

He feels the government should have waited at least a week for booster coverage to improve.

As for Hogan, she “just expects the best on Monday.”

— Use The Canadian Press files


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