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Back to school? Experts suggest students start prepping for unusual school year

Last Updated Aug 29, 2020 at 10:22 am PDT

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Summary

One of Ontario's top doctors has some tips that will help kids get back into the groove with as little shock as possible

Some advice includes practice mask-wearing, getting back on a sleep routine, and reviewing hand hygiene

TORONTO (680 NEWS) — There is just over a week to go until the first day of school, and one of Ontario’s top doctors has some key advice for parents and kids to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The key advice from Waterloo’s medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang is not to jump into all the school habits the same day that it starts.

Instead, start practicing those right now.

One of the habits your kid should be getting into is remembering to put on a mask and keeping it on.

“Parents have a lot of responsibilities. And talking to them about masks and helping them at home, maybe try to get used to wearing masks, it’s another thing that may be able to help these young children,” she says.

Other things you can do are get back into sleep schedules and get back into morning routines, which should now include screening your child for symptoms of COVID-19.

“Practice no-touch greetings to greet classmates and teachers. Talk to your kids, explaining how their classrooms will look different. Talk to them about the importance of these new measures,” Wang adds.

Lastly, it never hurts to practice hand hygiene either and to remind your children to wash their hands frequently.

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On Friday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned families to prepare to see the coronavirus cases in schools.

She added that if there are such cases, it will be a reflection of what is happening in the community surrounding them.

“People need to be prepared, with local public health, on exactly what to do when you have a case,” she added. “So having a plan is the most important thing, so everyone knows what will happen if you do get a case, and that people won’t be surprised and that they will feel reassured in terms of what will happen.”

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also said expects COVID-19 cases in schools but that the province’s transmission rates are low.

“This is a very challenging time, and we in public health will be there with every school in this province to make sure that we have a response, that we identify children or adults in the school setting early, and that we have things in place that we need to make sure that we’re doing everything to prevent transmission,” she said Thursday.

She added health officials are monitoring what’s happened in other places where students have returned to school, including Scotland, Denmark, Finland, and Germany.

On Friday, B.C. set a new daily record of 124 COVID-19 cases.

The province now has 974 active cases of the virus and 23 of them are in the hospital.