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COVID-19, Schools, and Children: Debunking the Myths

Protect Our Province BC hosts a panel to discuss BC’s approach to protecting children

Guest Speaker: Prof. Colin Furness, Canadian epidemiologist 

Thursday, January 6, 4:00 – 5:00 pm PST

BC’s politicians and public health leaders seem to have abandoned all ideas of preventing the rapid growth of Omicron, telling both businesses and schools to prepare for “functional closures”, with widespread illness expected to disable the ability to operate due to lack of staff.

What does this mean for our children, to let COVID-19 spread through their population, when only 40% of 5-11 year-olds have received just one dose of vaccine, and all 0-4 years-olds are unvaccinated?

Prof. Colin Furness, infection control epidemiologist from the University of Toronto, will join our education panel.  He will explain many of the concerns that are echoed by the scientific community regarding what is missing from the protections given to children in both school and childcare settings. What are the differences between what the scientific community is saying versus what political and public health leaders are doing? He will also provide an analysis of how Omicron’s rapid unchecked transmission through the under-vaccinated child community could affect BC pediatric hospitalization numbers and Long Covid sufferers. Actions to prevent a surge of pediatric cases via community spread in schools and childcare facilities will be discussed.

The panel will also feature Jennifer Heighton, teacher and co-founder/director of Safe Schools Coalition BC, and Jaclyn Ferreira, parent, disability advocate and co-founder of Safe Schools Coalition BC. They will provide local insights about the province’s response, and the experience of BC parents and teachers, into the discussion.  Dr. Brenda Hardie, Vancouver Family Physician, will facilitate.

Schools and daycares operate in densely occupied spaces, some with poor ventilation, and with clientele that lack impulse control which makes it difficult for them to follow distancing rules. That fact, coupled with the largely unvaccinated groupings and rampant community spread of Omicron, should be a major reason for additional protective measures to keep schools functioning safely.

“We avoid catastrophe and get schools back to normal by…allowing some time to finish vaccinating the susceptible population instead of mass infecting them. These are our children; we owe them this diligence.” Prof. Colin Furness

Speakers:

  • Prof. Colin Furness, MISt PhD MPH, Infection Control Epidemiologist, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Brenda Hardie, Vancouver Family Physician
  • Jaclyn Ferreira, Researcher, Disability and Inclusion advocate
  • Jennifer Heighton, Community advocate, Teacher

Archived Briefings from Protect Our Province BC

A Protect Our Province BC panel discussion with A panel discussion about how we as a community can pull together to create a safer learning environment for kids when school starts again in September! We can avoid another ‘tripledemic’ if we work together! Ready for Fall 2023? video: Briefing video:
“COVID-19 vaccination is safe during pregnancy and may protect newborns from infection, especially if vaccines are given in the second or third trimester. This is similar to what we are already doing with other maternal vaccines, including TDaP and seasonal influenza.” – Dr. Eastabrook
“If we had an epidemic of people with broken limbs and we saw people in plasters and crutches, it would be more evident. But there is a lot of disability that is happening, which is a hidden disability often, which is why we need to talk about it more, for people to understand what the consequences are. And that will help to make better decisions.” - Lynette

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