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Kingston, Belleville public health offer support to local back to school plans

Both Kingston and Belleville area medical officers of health say local students are starting the year off right with little to know cases of COVID-19 in both regions.
Both Kingston and Belleville area medical officers of health say local students are starting the year off right with little to know cases of COVID-19 in both regions. File / Global News

The medical officers of health from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) and Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health are putting their support behind school boards and their back to school plans in the fall.

In a joint statement released Thursday evening, both Dr. Kieran Moore from KFL&A and Dr. Piotr Oglaza from HPEPH said locally, both regions are starting on a better foot than elsewhere when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

Read more: Limestone District School Board sets out COVID-19 plans for back to school

“It is important to recognize that there is a notable difference between what is happening around the globe and the situation in our region. In our region, we have been fortunate to have maintained consistently low infection rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

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In KFL&A, the region is currently COVID-19 free, with all cases resolved as of last week. The total cases have been relatively low, with only 109 since the pandemic began.

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The HPEPH region has seen even fewer cases, with a total of 44, all of which have resolved, save for the five people who died from COVID-19 complications.

With schools set to reopen Sept. 3, both medical officers of health feel low case numbers set students and staff up for a safer back to school experience.

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“Starting the school year with very few positive cases, as well as continuous efforts from the community to practise preventative measures, will contribute to a successful reopening of local schools,” the joint statement said.

The medical officers of health noted that plans are in place to act quickly if an outbreak occurs at a school, and both regions are set up to deal with spikes in cases locally.

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Though they noted that each individual parent should make the decision they feel is best for their family, both medical officers of health “completely support the local school boards in the reopening of our local schools as students and staff return to the classroom in September.”