HomeAsk the infectious disease expert: Returning back-to-school during COVID-19

Ask the infectious disease expert: Returning back-to-school during COVID-19

September 10, 2021

Dr. Zain Chagla
Dr. Zain Chagla

Dr. Zain Chagla specializes in infectious diseases, internal medicine, and tropical medicine. He is a Consultant Physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Hamilton Health Sciences in Ontario, Associate Professor of Medicine at McMaster University, and adjunct faculty at the University of Namibia in the Department of Medicine. 

We’ve asked Dr. Chagla for his thoughts on returning to back-to-school during this time of the pandemic. 

At this time, the fourth wave of COVID-19 is underway and the under 12 population cannot yet get vaccinated. What is the single most important thing when approaching back-to-school and the return of in-class learning?  

The number one piece of ensuring as much safety for a return to school in those who are unvaccinated, is making sure everyone eligible in the household is vaccinated.  Data from schools in Ontario through last year suggests that up to 80% of cases in schools derive from close contacts, largely within one’s household, and reducing that risk will have a significant impact on schools.  All 12+ year olds in the household should be vaccinated, which not only reduces the risk of unvaccinated children in the household being infected, but also reduces the risk of infections acquired in schools circulating back into the community.   

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and food allergy

Watch the “Get the facts” webinar

Watch the “Is any approved vaccine the best vaccine?” webinar

Watch the “What to know about vaccines for children and teens” webinar

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