Niagara Catholic confirms six new school cases

·2 min read

The holiday break is off to a bad start for Niagara Catholic District School Board.

And it’s a break that will be followed by remote learning, the province has announced.

Niagara Catholic District School Board confirmed in a press release Monday that six more individuals, from three schools, have tested positive for COVID-19.

The bulk of the cases are tied to Saint Michael Catholic High School in Niagara Falls; three cases have been confirmed, bringing the school’s total active case count to seven.

Niagara Catholic said in a release that two of the cases at Saint Michael are considered to have no risk of transmission. The release did not clarify the third case.

Despite the high case counts at Saint Michael, no outbreaks have been declared by Niagara Region Public Health.

Provincial guidelines indicate “an outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection.”

In addition to Saint Michael’s, two individuals at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Elementary School in Niagara Falls and an individual at St. Charles Catholic Elementary School in Thorold have all tested positive for COVID-19.

Niagara Region Public Health has determined the two cases at St. Vincent de Paul have no risk of transmission, and no contact tracing is required.

The provincial database that maintains school-related COVID-19 cases lags behind local reporting. As of publication, there was no update listed on the database.

Niagara Catholic’s database that maintains COVID-19-related information is currently listing 10 active cases.

In response to the novel coronavirus, the provincial government confirmed on Monday a provincewide shutdown will take effect Saturday.

School boards in southern Ontario are now required to implement “teacher-led remote learning” after the traditional two-week winter break.

Elementary school students will use remote learning from Jan. 4 until Jan. 8, when they return to in-person learning.

Secondary school students will continue learning remotely from Jan. 4 until Jan. 25, at which point they may resume in-person learning.

Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: svanderklis@metroland.com

Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review