Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

August 19, 2009 14:03 ET

Government of Canada Helps Schools Prepare for H1N1 Flu Virus

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 19, 2009) - The Government of Canada today released guidance documents to help schools, daycares and post secondary institutions prepare for back to school during the H1N1 flu virus pandemic.

"We know that the H1N1 virus can spread easily among young people," said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. "We want to do all that we can to minimize the risk of infection at school - that's why we have provided schools with this crucial advice."

The two guidance documents - an updated, more detailed set of guidelines for schools and daycares, and a new document for post-secondary institutions and boarding schools - provide recommendations for institutions regarding handwashing and disinfecting surfaces, measures for isolating the ill, and for reporting outbreaks to local public health authorities.

The Government of Canada continues to recommend against the widespread proactive closure of schools, daycares and post-secondary institutions. As the H1N1 virus continues to cause primarily mild illness in Canada, the risks and benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the risks and benefits of closing them, especially when the recommended measures are taken.

"Schools, daycares and post secondary institutions can play a crucial role in our pandemic response," said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. "Keeping schools open is an excellent way to educate and inform students and their families, minimize the impact of the virus on society and the economy, and it offers a good environment to administer the pandemic vaccine."

These guidance documents were developed in consultation with provincial and territorial health authorities. While decisions on school closures are ultimately a local and organizational jurisdiction, these guidelines will assist in implementing a consistent approach to management of H1N1 flu virus in schools across Canada.

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Contact Information

  • Office of Leona Aglukkaq
    Minister of Health
    Josee Bellemare
    Public Health Agency of Canada
    Media Relations