Ontario to stop reporting school board COVID-19 case counts

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Published January 1, 2022 at 10:24 am

agreement reached between ontario and elementary school teachers union

Ontario will stop collecting COVID-19 case numbers and reporting new staff and student infections.

In a memo from the Ministry of Education, school boards were told the province is suspending its reporting of new COVID-19 infections at Ontario schools starting next week.

Case counts will no longer be posted, but the ministry said it will continue to report coronavirus school and child-care centre closures.

“Given recent changes to case and contact management by the Ministry of Health and OCMOH, the ministry will suspend reporting of COVID-19 cases in schools,” the letter reads.

The ministry also said cohort-based dismissals may not occur in schools and child care settings, and the province is expected to update school boards on reporting expectations of absences in schools and school closures due to COVID-19.

Students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed case are still required to self-isolate.

The letter was reportedly sent out to school boards on Thursday, the same day the province pushed the back-to-school start date for much of Ontario schools back to Wednesday Jan. 5.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said the province is set to deploy an additional 3,000 HEPA filter units to school boards on top of the 70,000 units already sent out.

School staff will also be given N95 masks, and starting in January, the province will temporarily permit only low-contact indoor sports and safe extra-curricular activities in schools to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The changes were announced alongside sweeping changes to PCR testing eligibility, new isolation requirements and updates to long-term care and nursing home vaccine mandates.

The province said the new PCR test eligibility includes symptomatic elementary and secondary students, education staff and participating private and First Nation operated schools who have received a PCR self-collection kit through their school.

Ontario set a single-day COVID-19 case count record for the third day in a row on New Year’s Eve as more than 16,700 new infections were reported across the province.

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