U of G Infectious Disease Modeller Discusses Kindergarten Reopenings

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Prof. Amy Greer

Prof. Amy Greer, Department of Population Medicine, spoke to the Toronto Star about why re-opening kindergartens is going to be so challenging.

Greer, the Canada Research Chair in population disease modeling, said kindergarten teachers have been given “iincredibly challenging parameters within which to work,” because of their need to maintain normalcy for the sake of the children while also ensuring those children avoid infection.

If kindergarteners are to return to school, their class sizes will need to be small and they will need to wear marks to avoid seeing them bring the illness home.

“With this virus, what happens in schools is going to spill back into the community. It’s all of our responsibility to do this well and do this to best of our ability,” she said.

Greer also co-wrote a commentary in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that accompanied a new research paper on keeping COVID-19 infection rates low will require many more months of physical distancing, ramped-up testing and contact tracing, quarantining and workplace and community closures to handle outbreaks.

Greer and co-author Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, wrote that public compliance with such measures is an important consideration “particularly as the burden of infection is reduced, the threat begins to feel less urgent, and ‘pandemic fatigue’ sets in.

“A long road lies ahead,” they wrote.