COVID-19 cases and classroom closures at Hamilton schools: Sept. 15

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Published September 15, 2021 at 8:51 pm

Shannen Koostachin Elementary School is located not far from a Catholic elementary school where an outbreak was declared last week. (Twitter)

An elementary school in the Hamilton public board — which is located not far from the Catholic school that had an outbreak before classes started — has reported multiple COVID-19 cases for the second time in three days.

Meantime, the total of closed classrooms and cohorts in the Catholic system has risen to 17. That is an increase of four from Monday (Sept. 13). A dozen of the closures are in the secondary school system, where students take two 2½-hour classes per day in a quadmester format.

Both the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) and Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) are providing updates each weekday on new cases among students and staff, as they attempt to stay open during Ontario’s fourth wave of the pandemic. Cases are often transmitted elsewhere in the community, and not necessarily in the schools.

Recent data from Israel’s national health ministry suggests between 2 to 5 per cent of children who are infected with COVID-19 suffer from ‘long COVID’ symptoms six months later. The brain, blood vessels, and liver are areas that have been affected in people with with “long COVID.” The Israeli reports, though, were based on self-reporting and there was no control group to help determine causation.

In the HWDSB, there are eight confirmed new cases that have reported across the past two days. Two were reported Wednesday among students at Shannen Koostachin Elementary School. The school also reported two cases on Monday. The school is also just more than three kilometres apart from St. James the Apostle Catholic Elementary School, where Hamilton Public Health Services declared an outbreak on Sept. 6.

No HWDSB schools are listed among the nine active outbreaks in Hamilton. The HWDSB COVID-19 advisory page contains language that “an outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff (or other visitors) in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before/after school care).”

The other new cases in Hamilton public schools have been among a staff member at Templemead Elementary School; individual elementary students at W.H. Ballard, Huntington Park and Norwood Park; and individual high school students at Glendale and Sherwood.

The HWCDSB reports 13 active cases across 10 schools. St. James the Apostle reported one new case on Wednesday. One classroom has been closed at that school.

There were three new confirmed cases on Tuesday. One was at St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School, which is in an outbreak that has resulted in the closure of five cohorts. Another was also in a high school, Bishop Tonnos in Ancaster, where two cohorts have been ordered closed since Monday.

The third was at Our Lady of Hope elementary school in Binbrook. A classroom is closed there.

Father John Henry Newman in Stoney Creek has three closed cohorts and St. Jean de Brébeuf has two, bringing the tally in the HWCDSB secondary system to 12.

The Ontario Ministry of Education, medical officers of health, public health units and school boards are taking a ‘first to open, last to close’ tack with schools. Ontario schoolchildren have missed more days of in-person learning than their counterparts in every other jurisdiction in Canada.

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