An Ontario high school has officially closed due to COVID-19 cases, making it the first school to do so in the province.
On Wednesday, Fellowes High School in Pembroke, right outside of Ottawa, shut down after a third staff member tested positive for the virus.
The Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) noted that the staff member had visited three additional classrooms, and therefore, the unit felt it necessary to close the school “until further notice to ensure aggressive follow-up and timely testing of individuals considered at risk.”
“Upon reviewing the situation with both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, RCDHU has decided this is a necessary measure at this time in order to determine the full extent of the outbreak and to prevent further spread,” the health unit states.
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The health unit also said they will provide daily updates on the situation.
“The harsh lesson learned from this outbreak is that we need to remind ourselves how each and every one of us should conduct ourselves in the time of COVID-19,” Dr. Robert Cushman, the Acting Medical Officer of Health.
He also advised residents to “limit your social activities and keep your bubble small,” referring to an incident in Ottawa where one person was sick, which resulted in 40 individuals testing positive for COVID-19.
“We all have COVID-19 fatigue, but this is a marathon and we are in a key phase with new challenges,” Cushman said.
“If we want schools to stay open and the economy to progress, we must recognize that individual vigilance and strict observance of public health measures are imperative. This is not the time to let down our guard but rather just the opposite.”
In the meantime, all students and staff at Fellowes High School are asked to self-monitor for symptoms.