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Classes could be sent home in event of positive COVID-19 case

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By Nick Seebruch
Classes could be sent home in event of positive COVID-19 case

ONTARIO – On Wednesday, Aug. 26 the province of Ontario released its guidelines for how to deal with positive cases of COVID-19 in schools.

According to one of the guidelines outlined in the plan, if a student is found to be a positive case of COVID-19 and attended school while communicable, that students entire cohort could be sent home for 14 days. Additionally, high risk individuals who may have come into contact with the student, such as siblings may also be sent home.

“If an employee, or student in the school, presents with at least one symptom reflective of COVID-19, the individual will be isolated at the school site and arrangements will be made immediately for the person to leave the school building. Enhanced cleaning will then be completed in the area where the person was directed to self-isolate,” said Amber Laberge, Communications Officer with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO). “This situation will be communicated to public health for follow up and guidance on testing, cleaning, and management of any contacts of the individual.”

An entire school may be dismissed if there is believed to be widespread transmission of COVID-19.

Widespread transmission can include a number of student cohorts being sent home, or a number of positive cases amongst staff and the student population with no known epidemiological source.

In the case of an entire school dismissal, the province recommends coordinating with Ontario Public Health to conduct widespread testing.

The province is encouraging school boards to make all of these decisions in conjunction with their local public health units.

“Each situation will be carefully assessed by Public Health and decisions will be made based on level of risk. The decision to a close a school would be made under the authority of the local Medical Officer of Health in consultation with the school and school board,” said Jodie Hall, Communications Officer with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB).

RELATED: UCDSB prefers a Sept. 11 return to school

Hall explained that the school board would also work closely with the public health unit to contact trace any individuals who may have come in contact with a student or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement on Aug. 26 Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce explained that parents will be asked to screen their children for symptoms every day before school.

“If an employee, or student in the school, presents with at least one symptom reflective of COVID-19, the individual will be isolated at the school site and arrangements will be made immediately for the person to leave the school building. Enhanced cleaning will then be completed in the area where the person was directed to self-isolate. This situation will be communicated to public health for follow up and guidance on testing, cleaning, and management of any contacts of the individual,” the statement from Lecce reads.

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