Vanier elementary school latest to close due to COVID-19

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As of Tuesday, 19 students at École élémentaire publique Mauril-Bélanger had tested positive for COVID-19, according to data posted online by Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, the city's French public school board. (Google Street View - image credit)
As of Tuesday, 19 students at École élémentaire publique Mauril-Bélanger had tested positive for COVID-19, according to data posted online by Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, the city's French public school board. (Google Street View - image credit)

A French-language elementary school in Ottawa's Vanier neighbourhood is the latest in the city to close down due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 19 students at École élémentaire publique Mauril-Bélanger had tested positive, according to data posted online by Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, the city's French public school board.

No cases have been reported among the school's staff.

The Montgomery Street school was closed Monday following an order from Ottawa Public Health and will remain closed for an "indeterminate" length of time, the board said in a French-language statement.

This is the third school in Ottawa to be shuttered this fall by a COVID-19 outbreak.

Nearly 800 Ontario schools with cases

St. Benedict Catholic Elementary School in Barrhaven was the first to shut down in late September, followed by École élémentaire catholique Marius-Barbeau south of downtown a few days later.

A school outbreak is declared if at least two people test positive and there's a possibility COVID-19 transmission occurred at the school.

Closing the school is then considered when there are either multiple areas of the school affected, or when many cases don't seem connected to each other.

The closure of École élémentaire publique Mauril-Bélanger comes as the Ontario government announced a new rapid antigen screening program Tuesday, one that would see rapid COVID-19 tests issued to high-risk schools to help preserve in-person learning.

There are currently 796 Ontario schools with at least one confirmed case of COVID-19, or just over 16 per cent of publicly funded schools in the province.

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