Toronto’s first school closes due to COVID-19 outbreak
A Toronto school is temporarily closed following the outbreak at Mason Road Junior Public school in Scarborough. One student and three teachers in different classes throughout the school tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) advisories page.
TDSB tweeted the news Sunday night and said the Eglinton Ave. E. and Mason Dr. school will be closed this week.
Important Update: @TOPublicHealth has declared an outbreak at Mason Road JPS & as a result has requested that it be temporarily closed Monday, September 28 to Friday, October 2, while they continue their investigation.
Information has already been shared with school community.
— Toronto District School Board (@tdsb) September 28, 2020
Toronto Public Health will investigate each case, including those who possibly came in contact with the virus, said spokesperson, Dr. Vinta Dubey in an email interview about Toronto’s protocols.
Parents will be notified if students can return after the investigations are completed.
“We will also advise if the school should be closed for a period of time based on the investigation, and to control the spread of COVID-19 in the school,” she said about the protocols in place for each outbreak.
Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the TDSB said in an interview with Humber News schools get closed based on individual cases, depending on how well the virus is contained and how much contact there was at the specific school.
“Toronto Public Health looks at all the information, the contact tracing and characteristics of unique cases and makes the decision,” Bird said.
The first reported outbreak was at Glen Park Public School in North York on where two students tested positive for the virus.
Glen Park remains open while the two students recover as the cases were contained in their two classes, Bird said. The teacher and 35 students who they were in contact with are self-isolating. Dr. Eileen de Villa, the Medical Officer of Health at the TPH, said the province set protocols to determine the definition of an outbreak at a coronavirus briefing on Friday.
De Villa said an outbreak is reported when “at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a 14-day period” occur and have “a link to a school setting,” meaning it cannot be contracted outside of school or after classes. ”
Dubey said the outbreak does not need to be over to reopen a school. “Cohorts without evidence of transmission can be gradually brought back to school as additional information and test results become available,” she said.
“Consideration should be given to implementing additional preventive measures and active surveillance as part of re-opening.”