A probable case of a COVID-19 variant has been detected in an Ontario school.
Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) confirmed that a student at W.T. Townshend Public School has likely contracted a variant of coronavirus.
The case is deemed “probable” because the student, who has tested positive for the initial strain of COVID-19, is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for a variant.
The school board did not specify whether the UK, South African, or Brazilian mutation – which have all been detected in Ontario – had been found.
With the exception of Toronto, Peel, and York, schools in Ontario resumed in-person learning on February 8.
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“Public Health has been clear that this is not an unexpected occurrence as variants are known to be spreading across Ontario,” WRDSB said.
An outbreak has not been declared at the Kitchener elementary school as the case was found in a dismissed cohort of students.
The public health unit has initiated case and contact management for the cohort, and will continue to monitor the situation.
The school board noted that the public health unit confirmed its health and safety measures, which include masking and social distancing, provide the “appropriate layers of protection” against COVID-19 variants.
“The well-being of students, staff, and families in our community remains our highest priority during this pandemic and we will continue to work closely with Public Health and follow their direction and guidance,” WRDSB said.
To date, Ontario has seen 284,887 COVID-19 cases and 6,651 virus-related deaths.