20% absence rate at 5 schools in Brampton, ahead of Family Day weekend


Published February 18, 2022 at 9:02 pm

Five schools in Brampton — an alternative school, and four elementary schools — reported an absence rate of more than 20 per cent on the last schoolday posted before the Family Day weekend.

Another five also had a combined absence rate in the upper teens, according to what schools self-reported to the Ontario Ministry of Education on Thursday (Feb. 18). The province is now only monitoring overall absence rates in Ontario’s 4,844 schools. Previously, schools reported each confirmed COVID-19 case and shifting students and staff to online learning when they were a close contact.

It is not possible to know how much the absence rates are affected by COVID-19 or other rates, and critics. Access to
polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests in Ontario is limited to higher-risk sectors of the population. Critics have said this restricts parents’ and teachers’ ability to gauge the level of COVID-19 exposure in classrooms. Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said last month that only reporting absence rates “empowers” families to make a decision.

Keeping that in context, Peel Alternative North, offers alternative programs designed around students’ individual needs, had the highest reported absence on Thursday. It stated that 30.8 per cent of staff and students were away on Thursday. Due to the new reporting methods, it is impossible to know how many of those absences were COVID-19 related.

Clark Boulevard, St. Mary Catholic, James Grieve and Sir Winston Churchill all reported absence rates in the 20 to 22 per cent range.

Six schools reported absences in the 18-20% range. That included one high school, Jean Augustine Secondary School. Here are the 11 schools that were at 18 per cent or higher.

School Board Absence(%)
Peel Alternative North PDSB 30.8
St Mary E S DPCDSB 22.0
Clark Boulevard PS PDSB 21.1
James Grieve PS PDSB 20.1
Sir Winston Churchill PS PDSB 20.1
Jean Augustine SS PDSB 19.5
Georges Vanier Catholic School DPCDSB 18.8
Claireville PS PDSB 18.6
Brisdale PS PDSB 18.3
Arnott Charlton PS PDSB 18
Aylesbury PS PDSB 18

Catholic elementary schools in Brampton were closed for parent-teacher conferences on Friday, meaning that many schoolchildren will have a four-day weekend.

Students also get a Friday and Monday off at Easter weekend. Last spring, cases spiked in Ontario, particularly in Brampton, following the holiday weekend. However, at that time, vaccination against COVID-19 had not been opened to most Ontarians under 55 years old, let alone to children age five and older. While COVID-19 vaccines cannot fully prevent a person from testing positive for the virus, it is shown to sharply reduce the likelihood of developing more severe symptoms and illness.

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