Students from two classes at St. Anne's Catholic High School in Lakeshore, Ont., have been asked to stay home from school beginning Tuesday Sept. 14 due to a confirmed case of COVID-19.
They join hundreds of students dismissed from the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) and the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDB) after COVID-19 cases were confirmed during the first week of school.
The GECDSB has reported eight COVID-19 cases since classes resumed on Sept. 7, while WECDSB reported 10 cases. At least 335 students have been told to self-isolate.
Muhindo Nzondro, a Grade 9 student at Catholic Central High School in Windsor said he feels nervous about cases being detected at schools.
"Online school is not that good because it's mostly looking at the screen for hours, doing nothing," Nzondro said.
"At school, the teacher's watching you and that's the advantage because the kids will learn," he said. "That way the students will learn really good and get on top of our class and maybe in the future we will become somebody — to make the world a better place."
Dismissals have been 'nerve wracking': parent
Crystal Diamond, the parent of a Westview Freedom Academy Secondary School student, has found the situation "nerve wracking."
"I figured it was going to happen but I was praying not, so my daughter could have her year. I hope it doesn't get shut down," Diamond said.
On Monday, the acting medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex in southwestern Ontario said he wants schools to stay open, but isn't ruling out taking action if case counts continue to rise.
Dr. Shankar Nesathurai called keeping classrooms open an important public health goal and is hopeful in-person learning can continue.
"We don't really know what the future might hold, but if case counts don't get under control, and the disease is not controlled well, then that may be one further group of measures that could be considered moving forward," Nesathurai said at media briefing broadcast via YouTube on Monday.
Nesathurai, the former medical officer of health for Haldimand-Norfolk, is the interim replacement for Dr. Wajid Ahmed, who is leaving to become the deputy chief medical officer of health for Ontario.
2 deaths due to COVID-19
Separately, the health unit reported Monday that COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Windsor-Essex: a woman in her 70s and a woman in her 80s.
WECHU reported a three-day increase of 173 new COVID-19 cases since Friday. Forty-seven cases were reported Saturday, 78 on Sunday and 48 on Monday.
There are 515 active COVID-19 cases, 312 of them involving COVID-19 variants of concern. Twenty people are in hospital, including four in intensive care, and there are 20 outbreaks ongoing
The outbreaks include at:
Long-term care home Berkshire Care Centre.
South West Detention Centre.
Kiwanis camp in Leamington.
The remainder are at various workplaces:
Four agriculture businesses in Leamington.
One agriculture setting in Kingsville.
Five health care and social assistance workplaces in Windsor.
Two health care and social assistance workplaces in Kingsville.
One health care and social assistance workplace in LaSalle.
One fitness and sports setting in Windsor.
One in a retail setting in Windsor.
The health unit has also issued a COVID-19 exposure notice for the Croatia Sport Club in Windsor.
Anyone who visited the facility on Sept. 4 is advised to get a COVID-19 test and self-monitor for symptoms for two weeks following that date, WECHU said in a media release.
COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton
Chatham-Kent is reporting 53 new cases since the public health unit's last update on Friday. In total, there are 140 active cases overall.
Lambton Public Health is reporting four new cases. The region has 29 active cases in total.