Hamilton students no longer required to show proof of COVID-19 screening

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Published November 8, 2021 at 7:12 pm

The daily COVID-19 screening requirement has been removed for children who attend Hamilton schools.

On Monday, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board shared that the city’s public health unit has “cautiously made” a choice that proof of daily screening is no longer required. Any decision by Hamilton Public Health Services would also apply to the Hamilton-Wentworth (HWDSB) public board, private schools and schools that are part of the French-language boards.

Students, teachers, school staff and visitors are still expected to self-screen and stay home if they show symptoms.

“The lifting of the in-school validation does not have an impact on other public health measures in place,” the Catholic board’s notice to parents says.

Hamilton has 134 active COVID-19 cases, and the seven-day average of new cases is 17. The reproductive number is 1.07, which indicates spread is being kept relatively in check.

Student and education worker cases are not necessarily transmitted in schools, but public health units declare an outbreak in order to try to isolate the spread to one elementary school classroom or secondary school cohort. Under the province’s ‘safer schools’ protocol, affected classrooms and cohorts switch to remote learning for at least 10 days.

City data shows only four active outbreaks that are linked with schools.

An outbreak was declared at Bennetto Elementary School in the north end after a pair of confirmed student cases on Nov. 6. Viola Desmond E.S. in Stoney Creek also has a two-case outbreak that was declared on Nov. 3.

The other two school-related outbreaks are at private Christian schools. Both were declared over the Halloween weekend. An outbreak at Oak Hill Academy in Ancaster has grown to 12 cases (nine student, two staff, one visitor) since being declared on Oct. 31.

Five cases are linked to the outbreak at Providence Christian School that was declared on Oct. 30. However, there has been only one new case linked to that outbreak over the past seven days.

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