Windsor elementary school to close after outbreak declared

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

All students and staff at an elementary school in Windsor are being told to stay home and self-isolate after multiple cases of COVID-19 were detected within the school community.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at F. W. Begley Public School Tuesday evening after three people tested positive for the virus.

“As a precaution, the entire school community is being dismissed and asked to isolate for a period of 14 days or at the direction of the health unit,” health officials said in a news release. “The WECHU is working closely with the school and the Greater Essex County District School Board administrators to manage the outbreak, further limit the spread of infection, and ensure ongoing measures are maintained to protect students and employees.”

The health unit said the entire school community was at a “high risk” of exposure to COVID-19 on Thursday, November 12. All staff and students are being asked to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and to get tested if any symptoms emerge.

According to provincial guidelines, an outbreak must be declared if there have been two or more cases at a school that are linked and if there is evidence of transmission of the virus in the school community.

For privacy reasons, the health unit is not releasing any information about the individual cases or the number of close contacts at the school.

“The health and safety of students and staff remains our priority and we continue to keep the school community informed and implement all health and safety protocols, including enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of the entire school,” said Sharon Pyke, the superintendent of education with the school board.