Medical experts led by SickKids release new back-to-school recommendations

“Thinking about developmental impact and mental health impact has to be in the same equation as the potential harm of COVID,” said Dr. Sloane Freeman, MAP scientist and lead pediatrician for the Model Schools Pediatric Health Initiative at St. Michael’s Hospital.

SickKids has released new proposed guidelines for reopening schools in Ontario come September, including recommendations like staggered lunch times, no large assemblies, and mandatory masks for older students.

The document, which was released Wednesday in collaboration with doctors from across the province, builds on COVID-19 recommendations the organization first released last month. It suggests various health and safety protocols for schools that take a student’s age and developmental considerations into account.

CBC News has learned Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce will unveil the province’s plans for the upcoming school year on Thursday.

The group says it is recommending the use of masks for high school students, with consideration for middle school students, whenever physical distancing can’t be maintained. Around 61 per cent of the authors agreed masks shouldn’t be required for elementary school kids.

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