Hamilton school boards report 69 cases of COVID-19 in second week of March

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Hamilton schools reported 69 COVID-19 cases and two outbreaks in the second week of March.

School boards reported about 40 cases of the virus the previous week.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 50,000, reported 52 probable and confirmed cases — 45 students and seven staff — between March 8 and 14.

In the same week, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, which serves approximately 29,000 students, reported 17 cases of the virus — 16 students and one staff.

Two outbreaks were declared at Hamilton schools — one at St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School in the north end and one at Central Elementary School downtown.

The outbreak at St. Lawrence was declared on March 10 after two students tested positive for the virus. As of Monday, one class or cohort at the school is closed.

An outbreak was declared March 14 at Central after two COVID-19 cases — one reported March 8 and a second on March 13 — were found.

There are ongoing outbreaks at six schools in the city.

The largest outbreak is at St. Michael Catholic Elementary School on the Mountain, which has reported seven cases of the virus this month. Currently three classes are closed at the school.

There are also outbreaks at Cathy Wever Elementary School in central Hamilton, Orchard Park Secondary School in Stoney Creek and Hillfield Strathallan College, near Mohawk College — each with two related cases, according to Hamilton public health.

Schools in Hamilton reopened for in-person learning on Feb. 8 with enhanced health and safety measures — including daily screening requirements for secondary students, outdoor masking and new guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school — in place after weeks of remote learning.

There have been approximately 205 cases at Hamilton’s public and Catholic schools since students returned to classrooms.

Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator