There was great outrage on social media after public health in Peel Region, a municipality in Canada, advised parents to self-isolate their children in a separate room for two weeks if they are sent home because one of their classmates has tested positive for the Coronavirus. The recommendations apply to every child, even those asymptomatic.
The guidelines state, “If your child does not have any symptoms: the child must self-isolate, which means stay in a separate room, eat in a separate room apart from others, use a separate bathroom if possible.” It adds, “If the child must leave their room, they should wear a mask and stay 2 metres apart from others.”
Experts warned that such measures are not based on science and could have terrible effects on children. “This does not seem practically possible and is highly likely to cause harm to children who would already be experiencing considerable distress with having to remain at home,” Dr. Tess Clifford, director of the Psychology Clinic at Queen’s University, told the Toronto Sun.
Dr. Martha Fulford, an infectious diseases physician at Hamilton Health Science, said, “I don’t understand how any health-care professional has moved so far away from the fundamentals of public health and of doing no harm that they would think that basically incarcerating a child in a room for 14 days is in any way justified.”
“This is shocking, especially when you consider this is being proposed for children who are not in any way sick,” Fulford added.
The recommendations, as expected, caused significant outrage on social media. People on social media called it irrational and child abuse.
(1/3)Requiring isolation of children inside rooms triggered the limit. @regionofpeel isn't alone, see @tdsb. It won't fly but consider the lessons:— Roman Baber (@Roman_Baber) February 28, 2021
Our Public Health "experts" are exposed. Their irrational conduct has no limits. Dr. Loh & @epdevilla lost all credibility. #onpoli pic.twitter.com/Fr7mWhDMmg
Has Dr Loh & @regionofpeel lost their minds?!!!!! WTAF is wrong with you? And SHAME on you @PeelSchools and @PeelCAS for endorsing this child abuse! @BonnieCrombie @patrickbrownont https://t.co/3MZod8Jsy6 pic.twitter.com/uIj7uUfxDw— Rachelle Manios (@RachelleManios) February 27, 2021
Following the backlash, the guidelines have been withdrawn. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said on social media, “Public Health must ensure the best interests of children and families are at the centre of recommendations. They must be based on science with evidence for all to see. I am relieved to hear from Dr. (Lawrence) Loh that this mistake is being fixed and this flyer is being removed from circulation.”