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Four new COVID-19 cases recorded in Dufferin schools, outbreak at Shelburne elementary

·3 min read

Two more Dufferin schools have been listed as having confirmed cases of COVID-19, and one school has been declared as having an outbreak.

On Nov. 28, a letter was sent out to staff and students at Centennial Hylands Elementary School regarding a second confirmed case of COVID-19 at the school. This follows an identified case from last week.

As a result, an outbreak has been declared by Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health.

“This happens in a school setting when there are two or more confirmed cases in a school and at least one of the individuals was likely infected at school,” explained Tammy Fleming, principal. “We know that this may sound unsettling, but are reassured that WDGPH is undergoing thorough contact tracing as well as outbreak management, with the students and staff in the affected class.”

Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) lists just one class as closed on their reporting page. The school remains open for anyone not directed to self-isolate by Public Health.

“Custodial staff have completed a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the school and we will continue to follow safety protocols recommended by Public Health,” said Fleming. “Contact your health care provider for advice as needed and to go to the assessment centre only if your child has symptoms.”

The UGDSB has also added Centre Dufferin District High School and Grand Valley and District Public School to the list of schools with active cases of the virus as of Nov. 30.

Centre Dufferin DHS principal Wendy McIntosh said in a letter to staff and students that the school was notified of one case by Public Health on Nov. 27, and another on Nov. 29.

Two class cohorts and some bus students have been asked to stay home while the cases are investigated and contact tracing occurs.

“These are not considered ‘closed’ classes, which sometimes happens as a result of contact tracing,” explained McIntosh. “The purpose of this class cohort remaining at home is to allow time for public health to contact parents of children, in order to identify next steps. Some potentially affected staff have been asked to stay home as well.”

Currently, the cases are believed to be unrelated.

The school remains open, and the UGDSB has posted “closed classes/cohorts” as to-be determined (TBD).

“We will continue to work closely with Public Health and take their direction as they complete their investigation,” added McIntosh.

One case was identified at Grand Valley and District PS on Nov. 29, resulting in one class and some staff being asked to stay home while contact tracing occurs. UGDSB has noted there is no school closure on their website, but listed closed classes/cohorts as TBD.

“Where Public Health determines there was a transmission risk to others in the school, they perform a risk assessment for any contacts,” explained Daniel Ardis, principal. “All students and staff determined to be at high risk of exposure will be directed to isolate and recommended to be tested within their isolation period.”

Under privacy guidelines, the identity of all individuals testing positive is protected.

These most recent cases bring the total school infections in Dufferin County to six.

Dufferin County remains in orange-level restrictions as of Nov. 30.

There are now a total of 174 active cases of COVID-19 within the boundaries of WDGPH, including an increase of 76 new cases since Nov. 27. Six individuals are confirmed as in the hospital.

30 of the active cases are in Dufferin County.

Information is current as of 11:30 a.m. on November 30.

Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner