An average of ~3500 Canadians die from the flu in a typical year.
That number sounds so small in the wake of #COVID19, but that's a lot of people lost to a preventable illness.
But this year all our illness prevention efforts wiped out the flu. Compare to previous years. 1/5
People over 65, kids under 5, pregnant women, and people with underlying health concerns are at greatest risk from the flu's most serious complications, but risk isn't absolute and perfectly healthy younger adults die from this preventable disease, too. 2/5
I don't know what the flu might look like in the next year or two, but my hope is that the lessons we've learned through the pandemic will carry forward and we'll do a better job protecting ourselves and each other. In all this devastation, we saved kids this year. 3/5
I appreciate the interest and enthusiasm I'm seeing to find creative solutions for the remaining weeks of school. We advocated tirelessly for many of these options throughout the pandemic, and found they require a significant amount of planning and new resources.#onted#onpoli 1/
I'd love for my daughter to finish her final year at her school in-person with friends and educators who have seen her through these seven years. With four weeks left my hopes are now pinned on better when our kids return in September. #onted#onpoli 2/4
This school year never had to be this way. Our government chose not to prioritize the necessary steps to keep schools consistently, safely open. The way Ontario has experienced #COVID19 was preventable, and our kids have paid a high price. #onted#onpoli 3/4
They chose to try to control the appearance of the situation, rather than taking more care to make our classrooms safer. My kids returned to crowded classrooms next to empty ones, and the only ventilation strategy was open windows. #onpoli#onted
.@sflecce's spokesperson continues to insist educators and opposition wanted schools closed all year.
This is simply untrue. As a parent I advocated tirelessly for a safe return to school where my kids thrive. The government didn't take school safety seriously. #onpoli#onted
Kids, educators, and families across Ontario deserved better than this. We saw through the gaslighting all year. We saw the government's flimsy measures fail us. We received the letters about cases and outbreaks in our schools. We isolated and pivoted and did our best. #onted
On May 6th it will be five years since I hugged my little boy.
When you lose someone, the world keeps moving, and people will get on with their lives around you. But your person is still gone, and your life is still changed.
4.5 years ago we made the choice to speak publicly about Jude's death with hope that by sharing him, we could protect someone else's family. We wished desperately that the conversation about illness prevention had been louder a year earlier, to save Jude.
As our #COVIDVaccine efforts ramp up in Ontario, there are hard conversations happening. LTC needed to be our top priority, and as of yesterday there were still residents receiving their first dose. Frontline healthcare workers also needed to be prioritized. 1/10
My mom works in a small grocery store in my hometown on Lake Huron. When the pandemic began, I was terrified. A broken ankle took her out of work in late March until very recently. I was feeling okay about her going back when Ontario's numbers were better. But now... 1/11
Each time we talk she tells me about more customers coming in refusing to wear masks. 'Why should I bother? It's not really here, and I see people not wearing them all over the place.' Her friends and out-of-towners gathering in groups without #PhysicalDistancing or masks. 2/11
Each time I talk about #COVID19 on FB, friends who are still in the area insist the crisis is over and there's no need to worry. For them, 'we need to learn to live with this virus,' means, 'we have to get back to normal and it is what it is'. 3/11
1) 'Why is the #flushot a top priority in their pandemic response?'
It's early September and we're already stretched beyond our testing capacity, before flu season has started. Symptoms for flu and COVID are similar, and fewer flu cases means fewer people needing COVID tests.
They're 2 different *serious* respiratory illnesses. Early this year we heard a lot of 'just a flu' or '*not* just a flu'. Please forget this phrase. Flu kills ~3500 Canadians each year. We don't know what both together are like.
With full-size classes, every time there's COVID-19 in a classroom that's an 10-15 *more* families & their communities instantly impacted than we'd have with classes capped at 15. That's more people at risk, more people in these lines, less ability to test & trace. #onted#onpoli
Parents are asked to keep kids home even with mild symptoms, but the government hasn't sufficiently expanded #sickdays to enable to do that. Parents will send sick kids to school because staying home could mean missing groceries or rent, or losing a job.
There's no good way to lose someone you love, but learning that Jude's death was preventable was a punch in the gut. He'd failed to develop immunity from his flu shot, but better prevention in our communities could have stopped the flu from reaching him and protected him. 2/11
After a lot of hard conversations and important lessons from experts, we got to work, founding a flu prevention campaign with the hope of protecting others from being in our shoes. We can't have Jude back, but what if we could help someone else keep their loved one? 3/11
'But because people can spread COVID before they develop symptoms, “by the time you’ve identified that COVID case there might be other cases in the classroom already,” Bauch said. And, the more kids in a classroom, the trickier the social distancing.'#SafeSeptember#onted#onpoli
I disagree with Bauch's calls for a hybrid model as a solution. They found 15 kids : 2 adults problematic in childcare, and a hybrid class would still have groups of 15 kids, many who would need childcare on non-class days, increasing potential for exposure within cohorts.
We don't have sufficient childcare spaces in Ontario in normal times, and certainly not now. Many parents (mostly moms, statistically) would be forced to leave their jobs to facilitate a hybrid option, putting families at financial risk, requiring significant govt assistance.
I've met a lot of elected representatives in the last four years while advocating for better illness prevention measures. The differences in the reactions when sharing Jude's story and asking for their help to save lives has been revealing. 1/4
Some have stopped, listened, and immediately asked what they could do. Some have cried, and some have given me a hug. Some shared their own losses.
Others have responded differently.
'That's too bad, but.'
'I sympathize, but.'
'It's sad he died, but what can be done?'
Too many lose their lives and loved ones to preventable illness, and better is possible. Finding a leader with compassion is a balm. Speaking to a representative who brushes away your concerns is salt in your wounds. I heard @JoeBiden's words last night and I was grateful.
School is scheduled to start in 24 days. In Peel we need to decide by Monday whether to send our kids in to full-size classes with masks, or keep them home for hours of screen time each day for the foreseeable future. Neither choice is good. We're stuck.
We know we're fortunate b/c we *have* the choice. I've worked from home for years. I don't believe the remote option is right for my kids and would never choose it if more had been done to make our schools safer during this time. Many don't have a choice.
No one is saying this is easy. We're living in extraordinary times and there are things we can't do the way we normally would. We know better is possible. I would urge @fordnation and @Sflecce to take another look at @StevenDelDuca's plan. #onpoli#onted
I don't understand why this is the approach our govt is taking to reopening schools. What needs to happen for them to be willing to invest properly in keeping our kids safe? Why is @fordnation willing to take chances with their lives? 1/7 #onpoli#onted
I already lost a child to illness in the school where my living children still go. Now we have to choose between sending them back to an environment that is being made unsafe during a pandemic, or continuing to keep them home where they miss out on their education. 2/7
I am not a teacher. I don't have the skills, and I can't give them what they get from being in class with other kids. @fordnation is telling us he'd be nervous to send his kids, but isn't doing what it takes to make classrooms safe.
We all know how quickly illness circulates at school. One sick kid in a classroom quickly becomes a class full of sick kids, who all take it home. As we live with #COVID19, it's more important than ever that we keep fevers and flu-like symptoms home. 2/7
Practice now. Plan now. If your kids are returning to school, help them get into routines that will reduce chances of contracting/spreading illness, and get yourself in the habit, too. This takes all of us doing our part. Everyone who gets #COVID19 gets it from someone else. 3/7
I grew up with a single living parent earning minimum wage, and can't help but see everything through that lens. I don't know what people in this situation are supposed to do when September comes if there are no viable options for them. 1/5
There are not enough childcare spaces in normal times, and won't be nearly enough if we return with a hybrid or online model. Only families with a parent able to stay home full time will be able to manage, but many of those families depend on two incomes. 2/5
I've seen no talk of job protections or compensation for parents who are forced to leave their jobs to stay home with their children if school isn't in session full time. Statistically, we know women will be most affected, setting our gender back decades. 3/5
This is what illness in the classroom did to my family. Not during a pandemic, but a normal year when ~3500 🇨🇦s die from flu, ~12,200 are hospitalized, and many suffer. It doesn't just happen. Everyone who gets the flu & #COVID19 gets it from someone else.
Today @fordnation was told @HaltonDSB will no longer be planning for a hybrid model b/c there aren't enough childcare spaces for it to work if parents go back to work. His response was that currently 91% of spaces can open and they're hoping to be up to 100%. #onpoli#onted 1/2
But @fordnation, there aren't enough spaces *under normal circumstances*, and won't be when suddenly all elementary students only go to school 50% of the time, and many of their parents need to work. That's an exponential increase in spaces needed. 100% isn't enough. #onpoli 2/2
"You're the first person who's told me that."
Who is advising the premier? Haven't we all been talking about this problem since they first suggested the hybrid model? #onpoli#onted
In normal times, many parents aren't clear on sick day policies, or are unable* to observe them. Sometimes kids are fine in the morning and develop symptoms during the day. In both circumstances, kids can't be in the classroom.
What happens next?
The school will call home and ask for the sick kiddo to be picked up. We've all been there. We're fortunate. I work from home and can get to school quickly in an emergency. But what happens if someone can't? If parents work farther away? *If parents are out of #sickdays?
Four years ago we lost our son because of illness in the classroom. Living through a pandemic after losing so much to infectious disease is a special kind of hell, but we're able to minimize our risk in all but one place:
During these last four years we've been advocating for better illness prevention in our schools and throughout our communities. We talk about flu shots in particular and vaccination in general, staying home sick, covering coughs and sneezes, handwashing and cleaning surfaces.2/11
The flu, like #COVID19, can spread from up to 6' in conversation, and while it might not be serious for one person, it could cost the life of the person they pass it on to. And while the flu is serious and claims a lot of lives, COVID-19 is a greater immediate threat. 3/11