In this latest set of guidelines, aimed at managing COVID-19 in daycares as well as elementary schools and high schools, Public Health (Québec) goes into further detail of how the situation is to be managed.
I am scratching me head….and it’s not lice.
I have included the original text in French for those who prefer to read it ‘prior to’ translation.
“Étant donné le caractère non spécifique des symptômes de la COVID-19, il est important d’éviter qu’une surveillance symptomatique trop rigoureuse ait des conséquences exagérées pour les enfants et leurs parents. Par exemple, il est normal et attendu que plusieurs jeunes enfants qui fréquentent un SDG contractent des infections respiratoires bénignes et conservent par ailleurs un bon état général. Maintenir des critères stricts d’exclusion équivaudrait à refuser à plusieurs enfants l’accès à un service de garde/milieu scolaire pour une grande partie de la saison des infections respiratoires à venir, ce qui n’est pas souhaitable.”
which translates as:
Given the non-specific nature of the symptoms of COVID-19, it is important to avoid overly rigorous symptomatic monitoring having exaggerated consequences for children and their parents. For example, it is normal and expected that many young children attending an SDG will contract mild respiratory infections and otherwise remain in good general condition. Maintaining strict exclusion criteria would be tantamount to denying several children access to child care / school for much of the coming respiratory infection season, which is undesirable.
(Note: SDG refers to Service de Garde a.k.a daycare centres such as CPEs)
So…if I am reading this right…our daycares / our schools should NOT monitor ‘overly rigorously’…which will have undesirable consequences….aka kids staying home or being sent home. Also, denying access based on strict exclusion criteria (it seems they are referring to respiratory symptoms, although maybe I am wrong) is also undesirable…
Here’s my question:
What will be the consequences ON OUR EMERGENCY ROOMS and OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM of kids WITH respiratory symptoms attending daycare and school..as we face a second wave of COVID-19? Will those be desirable consequences or will our emergency rooms be overwhelmed?
Even if the respiratory symptoms are not COVID, even if it is ‘just the flu’…or ‘just a regular virus’…will there not be more propagation of these other viruses? Will kids magically not be getting fever in the middle of the night on the weekend (because it’s always in the middle of the night on the weekend) and find themselves in the ER? Let’s not forget that flu shots are NOT mandated by the Quebec Government for kids (or anyone under age 75) without a chronic medical illness)…
This next statement from the guidelines actually OFFENDS me:
Une revue rapide de la littérature scientifique indique que la COVID-19 chez les enfants semble moins sévère que chez les adultes; que les enfants présentent des symptômes légers à modérés ou sont asymptomatiques; que les symptômes présentés sont peu spécifiques et peu prédictifs d’une infection au COVID-19, excepté l’anosmie.
A quick review of the scientific literature indicates that COVID-19 in children appears to be less severe than in adults; that the children have mild to moderate symptoms or are asymptomatic; that the symptoms presented are not very specific and not very predictive of a COVID-19 infection, except for anosmia
(Note: anosmia=loss of sense of smell)
A QUICK REVIEW of the scientific literature? Is that the basis for sending millions of kids into classrooms, WITHOUT masks and NOT distanced, together with teachers who happen to be adults? For sending them into classrooms WITHOUT masks, NOT distanced, together with other students who live with adults?
A QUICK REVIEW.
I would have liked to see ‘A comprehensive review of the scientific literature indicates…’. Here’s a thought…Maybe ‘a comprehensive review of the scientific literature’ indicates otherwise…maybe a comprehensive review indicates that we actually don’t know enough yet, that there are long term effects that are being studies in thousands…if not tens of thousands of people of ALL ages. Maybe a comprehensive review indicates that if sending kids back to school is in the best interests of the children, it needs to be done with less people in the classroom, distanced from one another and wearing masks and with up-to-snuff ventilation. At least until we have further information.
Quick Review? I think not.
Our kids are worth more than a Quick Review.
All of us who are taking care of our kids and all those who come into contact with our kids (grandparents, teachers, resource personnel, the 60 year old receptionist in the daycare office, etc) are worth more than a Quick Review.
The entire population of Quebec is entitled to more that a Quick Review.
Finally, while this particular next statement bothers me, it may not disturb you to the same extent…or at all. I guess I can say that at least the government is being truthful with this statement:
“Les recommandations de gestion des cas et des contacts ne visent pas à empêcher l’introduction de la COVID-19 dans les SDG et milieux scolaires (d’autant plus que des formes asymptomatiques de la maladie existent), mais bien à limiter au maximum la transmission dans le milieu lorsqu’il y a un ou des cas.”
In other words:
The recommendations for the management of cases and contacts are not intended to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 in the SDGs and school environments (especially since asymptomatic forms of the disease exist), but to limit as much as possible the transmission in the environment when there is one or more cases.
So they are not intending to prevent introduction into the environment, just to prevent the spread from one person to another…But the schools are PROHIBITED from mandating mandatory masking in classrooms to protect their students and teachers.
I must be missing something.
In addition, let’s remember that kids leave school and go home…and possibly to after school activities (so…they have the potential to spread it to adults who, according to the government, have more severe symptoms.
I cannot make sense of what our government is trying to do.
In case you think I am off-base…I encourage you to read the guidelines yourself: https://www.inspq.qc.ca/sites/default/files/publications/3055-services-garde-enseignement-prescolaire-primaire-secondaire-covid19.pdf
You can also find similar info at https://www.inspq.qc.ca/publications/3055-services-garde-enseignement-prescolaire-primaire-secondaire-covid19
Those of you who know me know that I don’t believe in airing out frustrations on social media- I believe in trying to find solutions.
If you feel the same way, I encourage you to get ACTIVE about this in a productive way. I wrote a blog post about some of the things that you can do to make your voice heard.
We ALL want kids to be safer at school. It’s not just about distance learning. There are pre-written letters available for parents who are sending their kids to school as well as for those who are not. There are letters available in English et en français! Click here for 3 Things You Can Do NOW to Advocate for a Safer Back To School Season as well as many more initiatives popping up daily in the Facebook group mentioned.
PLEASE JOIN ME in in speaking up- not only for the safety of our kids- but for the safety of all Quebecers.
*featured image is a screenshot from the Institut national de santé publique website.