The start of the school year brings challenges for all those tasked with teaching our kids and keeping them safe, as well as themselves. The City of Côte Saint-Luc has reached out to the schools to offer whatever help we can provide. While we can—and are—providing the usual school zone safety initiatives, much of what needs to be done must happen at the school level. 

Like you, we’ve read the articles about the importance of ventilation in schools, the benefits of outdoor classrooms, and the necessity of wearing masks indoors when it’s not possible to maintain the right physical distance. We therefore call on the Quebec government to announce its plan and timeline for rapidly upgrading the ventilation system in schools. In the meantime, schools will have to do the best they can by keeping windows open—even when it gets colder—and experimenting with outdoor classrooms.

Even as we hope and pray that schools serving our residents will be able to avoid outbreaks of COVID-19 cases, we must be ready in case there are cases. This means that we should be avoiding social gatherings as much as possible. As pediatrician Dr. Aaron E. Carroll recently wrote  in the New York Times: “[A]s we loosen restrictions in some areas, we should be increasing restrictions in others. If kids are going to take on more risk at school, they should find ways to be even safer outside of it. Large groupings at a friend’s house are not a good idea.” 

Dr. Carroll reminds us that each decision we make to reduce risk helps. Wearing masks helps. Socializing outside instead of inside helps. Staying 2 metres away helps. Washing our hands helps. Each of these helps add to the safety pile. He adds: “If the pile gets big enough, we as a society can keep this thing in check.” 

Let’s continue to do our best to keep each other safe. We will get through this together.