COVID outbreak declared Sudbury high school, fourth school outbreak
St. Charles College in Sudbury. (File)
SUDBURY -- A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a fourth Sudbury school, the city's seventh active outbreak of the disease in three weeks.
St. Charles College is the latest school that has been affected by COVID-19 with health officials making the call Tuesday night after a third person tested positive for the disease.
"To date, affected classes and buses include: Grade F7/8 class, Grade 11 instrumental music class AMU3M and AMU4M, Grade 11 chemistry class SCH3U, Grade 12 class IDP3O/4U, bus routes, L-003 (secondary) morning bus, and L-364 (secondary) afternoon bus," Public Health Sudbury & Districts said in a news release. "Public health’s investigation is ongoing."
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board said the Grade 7/8 French Immersion cohort is the one affected. It is the school board's fifth school with cases totalling 22 cases.
Other Sudbury Catholic schools affected include Marymount Academy, Piux XII, St. Albert Adult Learning Centre, and St. David School.
A parent with students at St. Charles, that didn't want to be named, told CTV News that they received a call that one of their children had potentially been exposed to COVID-19 and that child should stay home to isolate. When the parent inquired about their other children at the school, they said they were surprised to learn that those children were allowed to continue going to school despite their sibling possibly being exposed to the disease.
Health officials told CTV News that other household members do not need to stay home unless they experience symptoms.
"In most circumstances, if siblings and other household members don’t have any symptoms, no one else needs to stay home. If a child is the only member of the household who has symptoms, they are the only one who needs to be tested at that time. They must self-isolate at home away from the other members of the household," the health unit said. "Note that if the sick child is young and cannot isolate apart from other household members, a parent or caregiver must also isolate with the child away from other household members. If anyone in the household develops COVID-19 symptoms, they should self-isolate immediately and get tested. If a child’s test result is positive, public health will contact the parent or caregiver and give further direction about isolation and testing for the other members of the household."
The St. Charles parent said their initial request for a loaner device to allow the sibling of the student that was possibly exposed to begin learning from home was denied.
Joanne Benard, the director of education for the school board, said devices are available, but requests take time to fulfill.
"When a student requires a device for remote learning, the parent or student can contact the school to put in a request. The school then forwards the information to the Board. Devices required for distribution are gathered, prepared and thoroughly cleaned to ensure the device is safe to use," said Benard. "Out of an abundance of caution, this process is followed strictly and as a result, there may be a delay in getting the device distributed on the same day the request was submitted. The school will arrange a date/time with the parent or student to pick-up the loaned device."
As of Tuesday afternoon, there are 86 active COVID-19 infections in the Sudbury and Manitoulin Districts. Since Christmas Eve, 220 new cases have been confirmed and 137 resolved, including five COVID-related deaths.
In Ontario, there are 14 schools with at least one reported case and five schools are closed due to COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning.