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Returning to school in September will prove to be a challenge in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some ways students will be looking forward to resuming in person classrooms as it has been a challenge to learn virtually. The absence of social interaction with peers has greatly impacted the mental health and well-being of students. Here are some considerations as students return to school in September of 2021.

  1.  Fall is a challenging time to begin with. Returning to the classroom usually means a return to respiratory illnesses. Australia has already noted an increase in RSV which is a common childhood respiratory virus. In Canada we have already experienced increased rates of RSV earlier than the usual fall season. Some of the restrictions around COVID-19 will be beneficial to preventing RSV and other viruses.
  2. Masking in the classroom and good hand sanitizing still remain the mainstays of prevention of spread of all respiratory viruses. Schools will be providing hand sanitizing stations throughout the school premises. Teach your children the importance of sanitizing and the correct technique of washing their hands.
  3. Both elementary and secondary schools plan to keep students within cohorts to minimize contamination across cohorts.
  4. Self-monitoring will be the other important key in preventing the spread of both COVID-19 and other viruses in the fall season. It will be important to either self-isolate if symptoms of viruses develop or to get tested. Being responsible about not exposing others to potential spread is one of the most important ways to contain the virus.
  5. Vaccination for those who are eligible is also the most important key in preventing the spread of the virus. Currently the vaccine has been tested in children greater than the age of 12. Watch closely for public health information as the vaccine is being tested in children as young as five. Yay!


It is important to get our children back to school in the fall for their overall health and for them to be able to shine in their educational goals. Let’s all follow public health guidelines and make this happen safely.

Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and proud grandmother of three! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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