Ottawa's first school must close due to COVID-19 outbreak.
2020-09-20 | Updated at 8:17 p.m. yesterday
Ottawa's first school must close due to COVID-19 outbreak.

According to Ottawa Public Health (OPH), two students and two staff at Monsignor Paul Baxter Elementary School in the Barrhaven area have tested positive for COVID-19.

The school will be closed, since Ottawa Public Health has determined that there is sufficient evidence of transmission of the virus in the school that is not localized to a class, SPO said in an email to Radio-Canada. .

The Anglophone Catholic School Board in Ottawa says it is collaborating with SPO, which has already started the process to trace close contacts of people with the disease.

SPO sent a letter to parents advising them of the situation.

The length of the school closure has not been established, but parents / guardians and staff should be prepared for a closure of two weeks or more.

Extract from an email from Ottawa Public Health
In an effort to ensure the protection of personal information, Ottawa Public Health cannot disclose any additional information about people infected with COVID-19, the email also read.

In a statement sent Sunday evening, the principal, Mark Kennedy, said he had asked SPO to set up a mobile unit to test staff, students and family members of students. This mobile unit will be in the facility on Monday September 21 and Tuesday September 22, he said. Nasal swab testing will be done on a first come, first served basis.

Student education will continue online.

Read also :
School closure in Pembroke: confusion of symptoms at the heart of the outbreak

By email, the office of the mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, deemed the outbreak unfortunate. Mayor Watson's top priority is the health and safety of all Ottawa residents, and he supports taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, the email said.

A closure to limit contagion
For his part, Patrick Fillion, microbiologist and teacher at Cégep de l'Outaouais, believes that closing the school makes it possible to stem the spread of COVID-19.

If we are talking about several hundred children attending the school, several employees too, that could quickly spread through the population. What we want, by isolating the four infected people as quickly as possible, is to prevent it from spreading through this entire population, he explained.

An outbreak on Wednesday forced the closure of a first school in Ontario, Fellowes High School in Pembroke, which interrupted classroom instruction when a third staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Parents partners in education vice-president Catherine Dumouchel expected a school to close as the number of confirmed cases in Ottawa has steadily increased over the past few days. She understands that some parents may see this as a source of concern.

When we see schools closing, it's worrying, because we wonder if our child is at risk. It is also the concern that, if a school closes, it is a whole new family organization that must be set in motion.

Catherine Dumouchel, vice-president of Parents partners in education
If they come home, it's another routine, says Dumouchel. The teachers will be there to ensure a routine, but it remains that it is the parents who are with the children at home.

With information from Estelle Côté-Sroka