While the feds are predicting “the usual range of infections, colds and viruses” when school resumes, schools did the right thing in not closing when the first wave of Influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, hit last spring.
“If you close a school, you’re taking a controlled situation and it becomes an uncontrolled situation,” said Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. David Butler-Jones.
In a weekly H1N1 conference in Ottawa yesterday, Butler-Jones and federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq announced that federal guidelines for public schools, daycare centres and post-secondary institutions will be released. Students will be taught to cough into their sleeves and to wash their hands frequently and to use hand sanitizer when no soap or water is available.
Children have less resistance to infection and their symptoms, if they were to become ill, aren’t as apparent. And in areas like schools and daycares, illness spreads more readily than in other settings, he said.
“Officials are working with students and schools to make sure that their population remains as healthy as possible,” said Aglukkaq.