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Returning To School During COVID-19

Local Medical Officer of Health for Southwestern Public Health, Dr. Joyce Lock says it is completely normal to feel anxious about heading back to school during the pandemic and she recommends having open and honest conversations as a family.

OXFORD COUNTY - Some parents and students are feeling anxious heading back to school next week in the era of COVID-19.

Local Medical Officer of Health for Southwestern Public Health, Dr. Joyce Lock, says these feelings are completely normal and it's best to get your feelings out in the open.

"It is absolutely natural to have some anxiety this year, there are many unknowns and school does look a lot different than it did 6 months ago. I encourage families to talk openly with their children, they should start talking and teaching them skills to get used to what school will look like. Start practicing how to wear your face covering now so they can feel comfortable when they head back to school, teach them how to put them on, talk to them about hand washing and physical distancing as well."  

Dr. Lock also suggests the goal is to keep schools open and they will be working with hand in hand with schools and parents to manage any cases inside a school. 

"The goal of course is to school open, we will be working hand in hand with schools and parents to manage any cases or outbreaks in the schools. It would be highly unlikely for us to shut down schools and it would require multiple cases. I think it is important to note that we have been working with the school boards to ensure that many measures are in place to prevent outbreaks from happening. Cleaning and disinfecting is going to be enhanced, high risk activities will be modified or cancelled, schools are offering online learning, face coverings must be worn by everyone, physical distancing must be adhered to and I think with all these measures, we can keep outbreaks under control. We do expect some cases, it is normal this time of year to have some respiratory viruses. We have lot's of protocols in place for identifying cases and containing them quickly if they do occur and all of that will hopefully prevent a large outbreak, so we don't need to close schools." 

Dr. Lock also says that you should start getting your kids to practice wearing a mask now and get them to wear a little bit longer every day. 

"If you explain to children why they have to wear a mask and how it helps to keep people around them safe, I think children will feel empowered by it and start to take their initiative to wear it." 

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