Timmins parents ask for more information on COVID-19 at Louis-Rheaume school
TIMMINS -- Louis-Rheaume in Timmins is the first school in northeastern Ontario to have a confirmed case of COVID-19, sending an entire class into isolation while the rest of the school remains open.
The news about the French Catholic elementary school came as a surprise to some parents.
"I think just more information in terms of you know that a class got isolated. We didn't find this out until it was actually posted in the media. So, being a mother of a child that goes to a facility, it was shocking," said Lisa Tremblay, a parent of a daughter attending the school.
School board officials said they are following all of the Porcupine Health Unit's protocols.
"We are very pleased with our protocols are very well in place and they seem to be working quite well," said Richard Loiselle, director of communications and accountability with Conseil scolaire catholique de district des Grandes Rivieres.
Loiselle said the health unit is following the case and conducting the tracking while the board follows up with staff and families.
"Well, it's a little unfortunate. It's scary for the kids and for the parents of the kids just not knowing what's going to happen; how they're going to go about protocols and cleaning and all that," said Kayla Durocher, an aunt of a boy who attends the school.
"We would have wanted to avoid this," said Anne Vinet-Roy, provincial president of the association of Franco-Ontarian teacher (AEFO). "One case is one case too many and if anybody thought northern Ontario is exempt from that or is protected from such a situation, now we see that we're not."
Timmins Mayor George Pirie said the situation shows why the newly-approved rapid antigen detection test is needed.
"The sooner we get that testing the better," said Pirie.
The school board said the health unit will determine when the cohort of affected students is safe to return to school.