184 students dismissed following multiple COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex Catholic schools

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Windsor-Essex Catholic and public schools reported multiple COVID-19 cases over the long weekend.  (John Robertson/CBC - image credit)
Windsor-Essex Catholic and public schools reported multiple COVID-19 cases over the long weekend. (John Robertson/CBC - image credit)

Multiple COVID-19 cases reported by the Windsor-Essex Catholic school board on the weekend has led to 184 students being asked to stay home after the long weekend.

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board said in a series of news releases Sunday that eight cases have sent home a number of classes and some bus cohorts. The increase in cases comes after a province-wide shutdown began Saturday.

When the new restrictions were announced on Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said keeping schools open is a "top priority," but officials will closely monitor the situation.

The expectation is that classes will resume in person following the Easter long weekend.

Here are the schools with confirmed cases and dismissed students:

  • 24 students dismissed from a class cohort at St. John the Baptist Catholic Elementary School in Belle River following one student case.

  • 22 students dismissed from a class cohort and 17 from a bus cohort from St. Peter Catholic Elementary School in Tecumseh following one student case.

  • 29 students dismissed from a class cohort at St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School in Windsor following one student case.

  • 26 students dismissed from a class cohort at St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Elementary School in Windsor following one student case.

  • 19 students dismissed from a class cohort at Corpus Christi Catholic Middle School in Windsor following one student case.

  • 20 students dismissed from a class cohort, five from a bus cohort from St. Mary Catholic Elementary School in Maidstone following two student cases.

  • 22 students dismissed from a class cohort at St. Christopher Catholic Elementary School in Windsor following one staff case.

In its news releases, the board said the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is contacting any students or staff who may have been affected and giving them instructions to follow. Students from all the schools have already been told not to return to class Tuesday.

The province announced a shutdown Thursday while keeping schools open.
The province announced a shutdown Thursday while keeping schools open.(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Other schools already listed on the board's website that were not included in the weekend reporting include:

  • One class dismissed at St. Pius X Catholic Elementary School in Windsor, which has one student case and one staff case.

  • One class dismissed at St. William Catholic Elementary School in Emeryville, which has one student case.

  • One class dismissed at St. Rose Catholic Elementary School in Windsor, which has one student case.

  • No classes dismissed at St. Joseph's Catholic High School in Windsor, which has one student case.

  • One class dismissed at St. Anne Catholic High School in Lakeshore, which has one student case.

According to the board's website, all schools remain open at this time.

Public board also reports several cases

Meanwhile, the Greater Essex County District School Board also reported several new cases at schools over the long weekend. According to the board's website, there were eight confirmed cases between April 1 and April 4.

It's unclear how many students or classes were dismissed.

In total, 14 public schools in the region have active cases, including:

  • Centennial Central Public School in Comber with two student cases.

  • Dr. David Suzuki Public School in Windsor with one student case.

  • General Amherst High School in Amherstburg with one student case.

  • Jack Miner Public School in Kingsville with one student case.

  • King Edward Public School with one student case.

  • Sandwich Secondary School in LaSalle with one student case.

  • Sandwich West Public School in LaSalle with one student case.

  • Frank W. Begley in Windsor with two student cases.

  • Coronation Public School in with one student case.

  • Forest Glade Public School in Windsor with one student case.

  • Herman Academy Secondary in Windsor with two student cases.

  • Northwood Public School in Windsor with one student case and one staff case.

  • P.A.S.S. Mason Centre in Windsor with one student case.

  • Tecumseh Vista Secondary with two student cases.

During Thursday's daily COVID-19 briefing with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said he wasn't concerned about the schools just yet, as cases in the community are still low.

"So far we have seen some cases in the school and that has resulted in many dismissals as well but overall knock on wood we were able to do fine with the school at this time," he said.

In December, Ahmed took matters into his own hands and closed all schools in the region a week before the winter break due to rising COVID-19 cases.

"When we made that decision it was because of wide spread transmission in community," Ahmed said on Thursday, adding that they have yet to see the same spread now so "at this time" schools can stay open.

The health unit returns for its daily COVID-19 briefings on Tuesday.