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Statement of Support from Local Medical Officers of Health Regarding the Return to School

For immediate release
Thursday, August 13, 2020

Hastings, Prince Edward, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington Counties – The Medical Officers of Health from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) and Kingston, Frontenac, and  Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health have released a joint statement regarding the upcoming return to school for students and educators across the region.


As September approaches, we understand that many local families may be feeling some uncertainty about sending their children back to school. We recognize your concerns and want to reassure you that the health and safety of students and staff is our priority. We are working together with school boards to support a safe return to school for everyone.

Every day we are confronted with changing information about COVID-19, which can create confusion and uncertainty. It is important to recognize that there is a notable difference between what is happening around the globe and the situation in our region. In our region, we have been fortunate to have maintained consistently low infection rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting the school year with very few positive cases, as well as continuous efforts from the community to practise preventative measures will contribute to a successful reopening of local schools. Education is fundamental to good health and we want to ensure that students are not left behind. The decision to send kids back to face-to-face learning is going to be unique to every family. Make the best one for your family for right now, knowing that we completely support the local school boards in the reopening of our local schools as students and staff return to the classroom in September.

The community can be reassured that there are existing processes in place to prevent and respond to any cases or outbreaks of infectious disease in the school environment. With access to some of the best resources in our communities such as surveillance and monitoring, responsive assessment centres, testing, laboratories, and contact tracing practices, we are well equipped to identify and respond to any positive cases quickly and efficiently. Even more importantly, the continued efforts of individuals and families to continue to adhere to public health measures will help keep the number of positive cases low in our area.

Additional information about specific processes that will support a safe return to school will become available in the coming days, including dedicated public health web pages about COVID-19 prevention in schools.

This is a critical time. Now, more than ever, we must continue to remain vigilant. The same proven practices that have kept our community safe will now be implemented in our local schools. We all have a role to play to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and the ongoing efforts of community members, health professionals, educators, families, and students will all contribute to a safe return to school this fall.

Together, we can keep our students and our community safe.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health

KFL&A Public Health

Dr. Alexa Caturay, Acting Medical Officer of Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health


For more information contact:

Suzette Taggart, Communications Manager, KFL&A Public Health

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist, HPEPH

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Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.


Symptoms or exposure? Visit for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.