York Region Public Health has shut down two elementary schools following coronavirus outbreaks.
Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School in Woodbridge and Holy Name Catholic Elementary School in King City have both been closed, effective October 14. Both schools indicated the closures on their websites.
“This decision was made with the health and safety of students and staff as the primary consideration,” Veronica Pang, a communications officer with the York Catholic District School Board, said in an email.
Pang did not confirm how many students had tested positive for the virus, only that there had been “multiple” confirmed cases of coronavirus at each school, and that affected students spanned classes and grade levels. York Region Public Health determined that some of the students had contracted the virus at school.
“Based on the epidemiological linkages between these cases, the situation meets the definition of a confirmed outbreak in a school,” said Pang.
According to the Ministry of Health, a coronavirus outbreak in an Ontario school is declared when two or more students, staff, or other visitors have tested positive for the virus with an epidemiological link between them.
As of October 2018, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School had 542 students enrolled from JK to grade 8, and Holy Name Catholic Elementary School had 570 students from JK to grade 8.
Students from both schools have been moved to online classes. Should they choose to, they can return to in-person lessons on October 26.
Both schools have implemented public health measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus, said Pang, including physical distancing of students and staff, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and the use of PPE.
“The decision for the schools to close and move to online learning for this period of time was not made lightly, and was done out of an abundance of caution to prevent further spread of COVID-19 within the schools,” said Pang. “York Catholic District School Board will continue to partner with York Region Public Health to monitor the situation closely in order to safely resume school operations.”
As of 5:00pm on October 13, York Region has 540 active COVID-19 cases, and has seen 5,088 cases since the start of the pandemic. They currently only list one school as being closed due to a coronavirus outbreak, although 28 are listed as being under surveillance.