MUSKOKA, ON-In preparation for school in September, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is planning on providing support in any way they can. 

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner confirmed in a teleconference they are currently in communication with the various school boards in the area and plan to provide assistance and guidance if requested. 

When asked if a procedure has been outlined for how to deal with a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in schools, Gardner said they are still waiting to hear from the government for guidance.  

To keep an eye on the COVID-19 situation in schools in the region and potentially have reach-out opportunities, he confirmed that the health unit had been granted permission to hire 20 nurses that will be stationed at the schools in the area at different times. 

While the funding to hire these nurses has not yet been allocated to the health unit, Gardner notes $50 million would be spread out among the various Ontario health units to allow the hiring. 

In addition to hiring more nurses, SMDHU staff will also be present at schools to ensure the safety measures outlined by the government are being followed, including making sure students are cohorting, eating lunch in their classrooms and recess and break time guidelines.