COVID-19 outbreaks declared at four London schools

Children wearing face masks in school. (File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / tomwang)

Four London schools are dealing with outbreaks of COVID-19.

The Middlesex London Health Unit declared the outbreaks at Sir Arthur Currie Public, Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary, Westminster Secondary, and Ashley Oaks Public after a total of six more positive cases of the virus were confirmed within the schools late Tuesday.

The health unit has concluded the additional infections are linked to previous cases confirmed at each of the schools and said it is declaring the outbreaks “in order to help limit any additional spread of the virus within these school communities.”

Outbreaks are declared when there are two or more confirmed COVID-19 cases over a 14-day period with evidence of transmission within the school.

Westminster Secondary and Ashley Oaks reported two new cases each Tuesday for a total of five active cases at the high school and four active cases at the elementary school.

Sir Arthur Currie, which already had three previous infections, and Mother Teresa Catholic each identified one new case over the last 24 hours.

All four schools remain open and buses are operating as usual. Only students and staff in classrooms identified as being in close contact with the infected individuals have been told to stay home.

“Declaring an outbreak and excluding the affected classrooms is an important step in limiting further spread of the virus,” Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, said in a statement.

“It is important that affected families monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. We’re advising that anyone in the household who develops symptoms needs to seek testing right away, and that everyone else in the household has to quarantine. That means staying home from work, school or childcare until test results are received for the symptomatic family member.”

This is the region’s largest number of school outbreaks since the pandemic began. An outbreak at Sir Arthur Currie was also declared in mid-October after two students in the same classroom contracted the virus. St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic School in London has been dealing with an outbreak since December 1.

New school cases of COVID-19 that did not result in outbreaks were reported by the Thames Valley District school board at Rick Hanson Public in the White Oaks-area and at Parkside Collegiate Institute in St. Thomas

To see a full list of the confirmed COVID-19 cases within the Thames Valley board click here.