The first school classroom closed in Mississauga due to COVID-19 outbreak

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Published September 10, 2021 at 9:25 pm

Mississauga school empty desks

An elementary school in Mississauga is the first in the city to have closed a classroom this month due to a child — who is likely too young to be vaccinated — having COVID-19.

The Peel District School Board’s COVID-19 advisory page shows that a classroom has been closed at Burnhamthorpe Public School in Mississauga after one student was confirmed to have coronavirus.

Burnhamthorpe’s enrolment ranges from junior kindergarten to Grade 5, making it extremely unlikely that the child had received any vaccination. The cutoff is a 2009 birthdate, which is typically Grade 7 age.

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) has one reported case in Mississauga, with a staff member at St. Sofia elementary school (3540 Havenwood Dr.). It has not closed any classrooms there, according to the board’s community advisory tracker.

One elementary classroom in the DPCDSB is closed, at St. Cornelius elementary in Caledon East. One student tested positive.

A staff member at St. Michael Catholic Secondary School in Bolton has also tested positive.

The Ontario Ministry of Education, along with boards of education and public health units, have affirmed that their joint plan is to keep schools open as much as possible during the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Temporarily switching a cohort to remote learning after a COVID-19 case has been mentioned as the alternative. Students are expected to complete a daily screening before each new schoolday.

Questions have been raised by politicians and teacher groups about class sizes, particularly for classrooms full of students who are required to wear masks but are too young to be vaccinated. The mRNA vaccines have only been approved to be given to children who are least 12 years old, although Ontario has slightly extended eligibility to anyone with a 2009 birthdate.

Rapid antigen testing has not been made available to schools in the public system. They were offered, at taxpayer expense, to students at private schools. However, the office of Education Minister Stephen Lecce said late on Friday afternoon that the policy would be reversed after the CP24 television station aired a report about it.

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