Ontario schools report 132 new COVID-19 cases over last 24 hours

Mar 19 2021, 10:46 am

Ontario schools have reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.

According to provincial data, 132 school-related cases were reported on Friday morning, bringing the total seen over the last two weeks to 1,697.

Currently, 908 schools across the province have a case of COVID-19, and 38 have closed.

A total of 213 schools in Toronto have a virus case – the most of any region in the province. Ottawa has the second-highest count with 85 schools, followed by Brampton with 64.

Schools update as of March 19/Government of Ontario

Classrooms in Toronto, Peel, and York Regions reopened for in-person learning on February 16. Other regions across Ontario saw students return on February 8.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said that enhanced safety supports would be provided to the schools, such as mandating Grades 1 to 3 to wear masks, targeted asymptomatic testing, stricter screening protocols, and hiring more teachers.

Reducing cohort classroom size to 15 students has still not been mandated.

March break will be postponed until the week of April 12 to limit community transmission of COVID-19.

Lecce noted that with the COVID-19 variants, the goal is to ensure that spread of the virus does not take place by reducing travel, which often takes place during the break.

On March 5, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) said that it had begun planning for a full return to in-class learning this September.

Ryan Bird, a spokesperson from the TDSB, told Daily Hive on March 5 that the Ministry of Education has asked school boards to plan for no COVID-related funding, meaning they must plan for in-person learning.

As of March 8, the Stay at Home orders were lifted in Toronto, Peel, and North Bay-Parry Sound. All of Ontario’s 34 regions have now reentered the colour-coded framework.

Since schools reopened in September 2020, there have been a total of 10,882 reported COVID-19 cases out of over two million public school students.

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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