Students at St. Joseph's Catholic High School in Windsor, Ont., say they are frustrated by the return to online learning, after their school was ordered to close Wednesday.
The closure was based on a recommendation from the Windsor Essex County Health Unit after it declared an outbreak of COVID-19.
"There was a lot of disappointment yesterday," said Jada Malott, a Grade 12 student at St. Joseph's Catholic High School and a student trustee with the Catholic school board.
"There's a lot of pent up demand to get back to normal, however we've got to trust the experts at the health unit."
Approximately 800 students were sent home and transitioned to online learning after five cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at St. Joseph's. The most recent exposure dates back to Sept. 9.
Jonathan Lariviere, a Grade 12 student at St. Joseph's Catholic High School said the latest school closure has made him question whether going back to in-person learning was "worth it."
"I feel like now I'm even more disappointed than I would have been if it stayed online. It's like there was a glimpse of hope. There was a chance we might be back and then it's shot right back down to online," Lariviere said.
200 potentially exposed: health unit
According to Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, the decision to close the school was based on a number of factors, including the burden of the disease within the community.
"Right now in Windsor-Essex it has one of the highest levels of disease activity in the province," Dr. Nesathurai said.
"We knew before we made this recommendation we had approximately two hundred young people potentially exposed to COVID-19," he said.
St. Joseph's Catholic High School is the first school in Windsor-Essex to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak during the 2021/22 school year.
Since classes returned to in-person learning, 14 classes have been dismissed within the Catholic school board, due to confirmed cases, yet St. Joseph's Catholic High School has the lone outbreak.
According to Stephen Fields, communications coordinator for the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board, the health unit made a mobile testing clinic available to all staff and students at St. Joseph's.
"One of the directions they gave to people when they sent out their dismissal letters was for those people to get tested and we are going to help facilitate that," Fields said.
It will be up to the health unit to determine when students will return to in-class learning.
For more, tune into Windsor Morning: