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Evidence of COVID-19 transmission within schools may trigger closures says Health Unit

A COVID case in a local school was revealed today
20210408 north bay parry sound health unit turl
The North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit building in North Bay. Jeff Turl/BayToday.

The local Health Unit is warning today that if COVID transmission is evident in schools, action will be taken to stop the spread.

Earlier this week Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health both issued Section 22 orders under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act to close schools for in-person learning. Both health unit districts saw significant increases in case counts and the spread of variants in the community.

A case at Silver Birches in the Ferris area of the city was confirmed today.

See: Silver Birches Elementary School hit by COVID

The Health Unit stated that, "We have not declared an outbreak at the school as there is only one confirmed case."

“Many students in our district face barriers to remote learning, and in some cases, barriers that go beyond access to internet and technology," explains Louise Gagné, Director of Community Services.

“Should there be evidence of COVID-19 transmission within schools locally, actions will be taken to help prevent further spread. Our school boards have done a great job implementing all necessary measures to keep children and youth safely in school during the provincial Shutdown and the Stay-at-Home Order.”

This Health Unit’s district is not experiencing the same increases in case counts as some areas of southern Ontario, but this could change quickly.

The Health Unit says it will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in schools closely, to help continue in-person learning during the Stay-at-Home Order.

"Being at school with peers and educators has a positive impact on children and youth’s social, emotional, and physical well-being. Due to these factors, we continue to monitor for COVID-19 in schools,” .

One of the best ways to protect our children, prevent outbreaks in schools, and keep them open, is to slow the spread of the virus in the community by following public health measures.

Those include:

  • Everyone is required to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise , or for work that cannot be done remotely
  • Practicing physical distancing – staying two (2) metres from others who do not reside in your home or where you are living, and if you live alone, physically distancing from anyone outside your exclusive close contact home;
  • Wearing a face covering indoors and outdoors as required and whenever physical distancing is difficult;
  • Washing or sanitizing your hands often;
  • Coughing and sneezing into your sleeve;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth;
  • Cleaning high touch objects and surfaces often.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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