Leong: Amid pandemic, schools can only be as healthy as the rest of us

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How the education system copes with the virus will have a concrete impact on the community.

Clearly, it’s necessary and appropriate for kids to stay home or be sent home if they have even the slightest sniffle, or to have children isolate for 14 days if they’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

It is presumed families will somehow accommodate this new state of affairs.

For those of us who have been working from home for the past six months, this might be less of a problem.

But a good number of us work at jobs that can’t be done at home.

Or perhaps work is paid hourly or by the gig, so having to care for a sick child will necessarily mean a loss of income.

What happens to those families if kids fall ill or are told to quarantine and a parent suddenly has to retreat from the workforce for two weeks?

The country’s top doctors appear to have your back.

Having watched Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s COVID-19 updates for months, I can safely say she doesn’t overtly advocate for much outside the realm of public health.

On this question, though, she’s been more vocal.

“That is something I have raised nationally with respect to the income support programs that are available,” she said at her briefing last Thursday.

“Unless we’re able to support individuals who need to stay home, either when they themselves are ill or if a child is ill … we will not be able to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.”

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