Schools can remain open or be partially or fully closed during an outbreak at the discretion of Ottawa Public Health.
Currently only one school with an outbreak is closed — Jonathan-Pitre elementary in Riverside South. Ottawa Public Health officials said they suspected a COVID-19 variant of concern was associated with the outbreak. The variants are more contagious and there is some evidence they may cause more serious illness.
As of Friday, there were 10 active cases of COVID-19 at Jonathan-Pitre and four resolved cases, according to the website of the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE).
Another six schools have been partially closed by OPH, according to school board websites. Osgoode Township High School, Henry Larsen elementary and Vincent Massey Public School all have one class closed, according to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
Three CECCE secondary schools are also partially closed: Notre Dame Academy, Paul-Desmarais and Pierre Savard, according to the CECCE website. The website doesn’t indicate the extent of the closures, but a letter to parents at Paul-Desmarais said the Grade 11 students had been the outbreak group.
OPH has moved to provide more protection against the variants by toughening up the rules for children who must self-isolate because they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Typically, when one child or the teacher tests positive, the entire class is sent home to self-isolate for 14 days and asked to get a COVID-19 test. The test is not mandatory, however.
The new rules specify that in cases in which a variant of concern is suspected, any child who is a close contact but does not get a COVID-19 test will have to stay home and self-isolate for 24 days rather than 14.
OPH reported no new outbreaks Sunday in health-care institutions, which have 24 ongoing outbreaks. Two new outbreaks were reported in community settings.
In Gatineau, Ecole Saint-Paul elementary has been closed until March 28 inclusive, according to the school website.
This content was originally published here.