COVID-19 classroom concerns on the rise in the Maritimes

Dr. Andrew Lynk from the IWK said from a COVID-19 big-picture strategy standpoint, the goal of the pandemic management simply used to be a strategy to minimize hospitalizations and deaths from the virus.

Another crucial goal now, said Lynk, is to have students in classrooms as much as possible.

That means not being home, taught in a virtual setting.

"So they get all the benefits of in class learning," said Lynk. "And the benefits of the supports the schools offer as well."

Lynk endorses the Nova Scotia back-to-school plan.

However, the Delta variant, combined with the knowledge that some students are still unvaccinated mixed with recent outbreaks affecting the Maritimes, has him concerned about student safety.

"Because of what you're seeing in New Brunswick and Charlottetown," said Lynk.

COVID-19 outbreaks are causing school closures in two Maritime Provinces. Because of this, Lynk is urging an extra layer of caution and patience when it comes to easing restrictions.

"Let's wait until early October before we get rid of the masks in schools, and see where we are at by then," said Lynk.

Silas Barrett is father of two students, one in junior high and the other in elementary.

Barrett's concerns regarding COVID-19 are not only for his children.

"It's not just about necessarily the kids," said Barret. "It's about carrying it to their grandparents or someone who may not believe in the vaccination."

Dr. Lisa Barrett also hopespeople will not let up on health and safety practices as the fifth phase of the recovery in Nova Scotia fast approaches.

"This is a vaccine-preventable disease," said Barrett. "We don't have a cure."

In some cases, the drugs doctors use to treat COVID-19 are in short supply.

"Do I think we should keep our guard up? Absolutely," said Barrett. "Do I think we should be anxious every moment? No."

Barrett and Lynk are both simply emphasizing extra notes of caution in this first month of students being back in schools.