Several COVID-19 outbreaks declared at schools in Mississauga

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Peel Public Health recently announced that several cases of COVID-19 have been found in three elementary schools in Mississauga and that some of the cases may have been contracted within the schools themselves. 

According to Peel Public Health's website, outbreaks were recently declared at Fairview Public School (Dec. 4), Hillside Public School (Dec. 1) and Garthwood Public School (Nov. 26). 

On Dec. 4, Stuti Jaggi-Vaid, the principal of Fairview Public School, announced that "multiple cases of COVID-19 have recently been identified at [the] school," adding that Peel Public Health informed the administration that some of the individuals may have gotten the infection at school. 

"Thankfully, risk for the rest of our school because of this situation remains low," Jaggi-Vaid wrote in a letter to families

"To further protect students and staff, Peel Public Health has declared an outbreak at our school. I know hearing the word outbreak is likely unsettling. An outbreak means that someone may have gotten the virus from someone else at school, rather than in the community. It also means that anyone from our school tested for COVID-19 will get their results back sooner." 

According to a letter issued by Peel Public Health, the outbreak is restricted to one cohort/class and the rest of the school is not affected. 

The letter says that all people identified as at-risk have already been asked to isolate at home to prevent spread. 

"At this time, the risk in the rest of the school because of the outbreak remains low and your child can go to school," the letter reads, adding that parents should screen their children for symptoms before sending them to school. 

The building will remain open for students and staff as it "undergoes a thorough cleaning and sanitizing" process.

On Dec. 3, Simone Sealy, the acting vice-principal at Hillside Public School, announced that Peel Public Health was investigating four COVID-19 cases at the school

"Peel Public Health has informed us that some of the individuals may have gotten the infection at school," Sealy wrote. 

Sealy wrote that all people identified as at-risk have already been contacted and given direction to prevent spread, adding that individuals from two classrooms are continuing to self-isolate at home until the end of the directed self-isolation period.

"Our building will remain open for students and staff. Our physical distancing and mask rules are designed to help prevent spread and lower risk, and our school undergoes a thorough cleaning and sanitizing daily as part of our enhanced cleaning protocol," Sealy wrote. 

Another school, Garthwood Public School, also announced that new COVID-19 cases might have been contracted within the school and not from the broader community.

On Nov. 26, Carolyn Sossi-Grant, the school's principal, said that three cases of COVID-19 have been identified at our school. 

According to Peel Public Health's website, 41 outbreaks have occurred at Peel schools and childcare centres since September. An outbreak in a school, childcare centre or before and after school program is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students or staff members that could have been contracted in the school or care facility. 

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