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Sinai health system risk factors & spread of COVID-19

illustration epidemiology concept with scientists, microscope, flasks, microbes, viruses

OSSTF/FEESO continues to collaborate with researchers investigating how COVID-19 impacts our members. Previous studies have examined work/life balance, mental health and well-being, and professional responsibilities during the pandemic. The data gathered from these studies will help inform our advocacy on our members’ behalf.

Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto are conducting a research study about COVID-19. Currently, OSSTF/FEESO is encouraging members to participate in this study as it focuses on identifying risk factors for COVID-19 transmission in education workplaces and communities. Risk factors include class size, students’ ages, protective measures, geography, and household size. The study will also help determine the incidence of symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 infections among teachers and education workers. Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto are also studying the psychological impact of working during a pandemic.

The study requires completion of:

  • Online surveys when you join and every second week throughout the year-long study.
  • Self-collection of blood spot samples five or more times through the year.
  • Online reports if/when you are tested for COVID-19.
  • Online reports if/when you are vaccinated against COVID-19.

You are eligible if you:

  • are 18-74 years of age
  • work anywhere in the Ontario public education system – for eight or more hours per week, on average
  • are not planning to retire, take parental leave, etc. for at least three months
  • and, because they will be asking you to collect blood, do not have a bleeding disorder, have not had chemotherapy in the past four weeks, and have not had a bilateral mastectomy

Participation in this study involves an initial online survey and very short follow-up surveys. In addition, participants will have the option to provide finger-prick blood samples through a kit sent to them by the researchers. These samples will allow the researchers to identify the presence of COVID-19 anti-bodies, indicating whether the participant has previously had COVID-19. This study will help researchers to understand the spread of COVID-19 in the current context as well as in the initial wave of the virus.

All OSSTF/FEESO members are eligible to participate in this survey which is available in both English and French. Participation is entirely voluntary.

The results of this and related studies will be beneficial to OSSTF/FEESO and will support our ongoing efforts to promote for safe working conditions for all members.

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