TORONTO, November 18, 2021 – The Children’s Health Coalition welcomes additional measures to protect the health and well-being of children and youth and to help keep schools open. Beyond the classroom, we know that the greatest indicator of safety within schools is what is happening outside their walls and we continue to support public health measures in the broader community that help contain the spread of COVID-19.
Families have shouldered a lot through the pandemic and as leaders in children’s health, we recognize that in-person school is essential to the emotional, physical, developmental and mental health of children and youth. Children and youth must be a priority in the ongoing pandemic response and recovery.
The provision of rapid antigen tests for asymptomatic surveillance testing and expanded take-home PCR self-collection kits for symptomatic individuals announced today adds a layer of protection over the upcoming holiday break and into January.
We look forward to working closely with the government, public health units and hospital partners to ensure this strategy is well-connected with the rest of the pediatric COVID-19 testing system. Anyone with a positive rapid antigen test result must get confirmatory PCR testing, which is especially critical for effective contact tracing.
The return to a regular timetable model for secondary students in February is also welcome. We have heard from youth, families, clinicians and educators that the modified timetables have taken an additional toll on student mental health.
The Children’s Health Coalition looks forward to continuing to support the over
–arching strategy for mitigating the effect of COVID-19 on our children and families including efforts to support high vaccine uptake and providing vaccine education. Vaccines remain a critical layer of protection we can provide our children, youth and communities.
About the Children’s Health Coalition: The Children’s Health Coalition is a collective of children’s health organizations, including CHEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, SickKids, Kids Health Alliance, McMaster Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital – London Health Sciences Centre, Children’s Mental Health Ontario and Empowered Kids Ontario.