At KidzFirst Canada, our role and responsibility during this time, like anytime, is the health and well-being of vulnerable and marginalized young people. You can read important information below and follow us on social media for additional information with regards to online education sites, updates, and tools to use at home and in your social distancing community.

KidzFirst Canada is making sure to support those vulnerable young people and their communities through donations and information. If you would like to donate, 100% of your donations will go towards additional meal security programs, devices and safe environments for those young people in need.

Please just click on the blue DONATE button and help us help young people during this crisis.

Currently we are working groups and organizations supporting meal & food security, educational tools, and safe living environments for those on the streets.

Important Information About COVID-19 from Health Canada:

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’ The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing). Individuals can also be infected from and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth).
The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.

Who is most at risk?

We are learning more about how COVID-19 affects people every day.  Older people, and people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, appear to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms.

As this is a new virus, we are still learning about how it affects children. We know it is possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but so far there are relatively few cases of COVID-19 reported among children. This is a new virus and we need to learn more about how it affects children.

The virus can be fatal in rare cases, so far mainly among older people with pre-existing medical conditions.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

There is no currently available vaccine for COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and getting early care from a healthcare provider can make the disease less dangerous. There are several clinical trials that are being conducted to evaluate potential therapeutics for COVID-19.

How can the spread of COVID-19 be slowed down or prevented?

As with other respiratory infections like the flu or the common cold, public health measures are critical to slow the spread of illnesses. Public health measures are everyday preventive actions that include:

✓ staying home when sick;
✓ covering mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissue immediately;
✓ washing hands often with soap and water; and
✓ cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects.

As we learn more about COVID-19 public health officials may recommend additional actions.

Specific Information for Young People and their Families:

The protection of children and educational facilities is particularly important. Precautions are necessary to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 in all settings; however, care must also be taken to avoid stigmatizing students who may have been exposed to the virus. It is important to remember that COVID-19 does not differentiate between borders, ethnicity, disability status, age or gender.

Today, children and young people are global citizens, powerful agents of change and the next generation of caregivers, scientists, and doctors. Any crisis presents the opportunity to help them learn, cultivate compassion and increase resilience while building a safer and more caring community. Having information and facts about COVID-19 will help diminish students’ fears and anxieties around the disease and support their ability to cope with any secondary impacts in their lives.

Encourage children to discuss their questions and concerns. Explain it is normal that they may experience different reactions and encourage them to talk to adults if they have any questions or concerns. Provide information in an honest, age-appropriate manner. Guide young people on how to support their peers and prevent exclusion and bullying.

Promote and demonstrate regular hand washing and positive hygiene behaviors and monitor their uptake.

Washing hands properly:

Step 1: Wet hands with safe running water

Step 2: Apply enough soap to cover wet hands

Step 3: Scrub all surfaces of the hands – including backs of hands, between fingers and under nails – for at least 20 seconds

Step 4: Rinse thoroughly with running water

Step 5: Dry hands with a clean, dry cloth, single-use towel or hand drier as available

Wash your hands often, especially before and after eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom/ toilets/latrines and whenever your hands are visibly dirty. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water, if hands are visibly dirty.

Help children cope with the stress

Children may respond to stress in different ways. Common responses include having difficulties sleeping, bed-wetting, having pain in the stomach or head, and being anxious, withdrawn, angry, clingy or afraid to be left alone. Respond to children’s reactions in a supportive way and explain to them that they are normal reactions to an abnormal situation.

Listen to their concerns and take time to comfort them and give them affection, reassure them they’re safe and praise them frequently. If possible, create opportunities for children to play and relax. Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible, especially before they go to sleep, or help create new ones in a new environment.

Provide age-appropriate facts about what has happened, explain what is going on and give them clear examples on what they can do to help protect themselves and others from infection. Share information about what could happen in a reassuring way. For example, if your child is feeling sick and staying at home or the hospital, you could say, “You have to stay at home/at the hospital because it is safer for you and your friends. I know it is hard (maybe scary or even boring) at times, but we need to follow the rules to keep ourselves and others safe. Things will go back to normal soon.”

CHECKLIST FOR PARENTS/CAREGIVERS & COMMUNITY MEMBERS

  1. Monitor your child’s health and keep them home from school if they are ill.
  2. Teach and model good hygiene practices for your children. Wash your hands with soap and safe water frequently. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. Ensure that safe drinking water is available and toilets are clean and available at home. Ensure waste is safely collected, stored and disposed of o Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth, nose.
  3. Encourage your children to ask questions and express their feelings with you and their teachers. Remember that your child may have different reactions to stress; be patient and understanding.

CHECKLIST FOR STUDENTS AND CHILDREN

In a situation like this it is normal to feel sad, worried, confused, scared or angry. Know that you are not alone and talk to someone you trust, like your parent or teacher so that you can help keep yourself and your school safe and healthy. o Ask questions, educate yourself and get information from reliable sources.

Protect yourself and others.

  • Wash your hands frequently, always with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Remember to not touch your face
  • Do not share cups, eating utensils, food or drinks with others.

Be a leader in keeping yourself, your school, family and community healthy. Share what you learn about preventing disease with your family and friends, especially with younger children to model good practices such as sneezing or coughing into your elbow and washing your hands, especially for younger family members.

Don’t stigmatize your peers or tease anyone about being sick; remember that the virus doesn’t follow geographical boundaries, ethnicities, age or ability or gender.

Tell your parents, another family member, or a caregiver if you feel sick, and ask to stay home.

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