The virus suspected among cases at Jonathan Pitre school contains markers associated with the variants circulating in Ontario that were originally found in Britain, South Africa and Brazil.
The school will remain closed until at least March 24, said a letter to parents from OPH.
The closure may last longer depending on results of the ongoing investigation, the letter added.
While the variants of concern are more contagious, officials say the same public health measures protect against all COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, hand-washing, maintaining distance and avoiding crowded or poorly ventilated spaces.
A case study by Toronto Public Health suggests pandemic protections now in place at schools can protect against the variants, Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said.
She cited a study of two siblings in different classes who both developed COVID-10 linked to a variant of concern. Both students attended school while they were contagious, but before they had symptoms, de Villa told the Toronto Catholic District School Board in a presentation last week.
All 44 students and five staff who had been in classrooms with the two siblings were tested and were negative, she said.
The number of cases of COVID-19 connected to schools across Ontario is rising.
Students in Thunder Bay and the Sudbury area have temporarily shifted to remote learning from home because of high community rates of COVID-19.
In Ottawa, the number of active cases in schools has increased steadily since students returned to in-person learning on Feb. 1, but remains below the peak levels seen in mid-October.
There were 124 active cases of COVID-19 at the four Ottawa school boards as of Wednesday, which was double the number from March 1. (The results for the Ottawa Catholic School Board are based on Tuesday data because the board website had not been updated.)
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