CORNWALL – Despite increasing COVID-19 case counts in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region after the Easter long weekend, students will return to in-person learning Tuesday, April 6th.
The provincial 28-day shutdown order that went into effect April 3rd did not include measures to move to online-only schooling for the four-day period between the Easter holiday and the rescheduled Spring Break.
EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said Monday afternoon that he is not issuing a blanket closure order for the region.
“I considered closing all schools with a Section 22 order,” Roumeliotis said. “But I do not have the data to support it.”
He told The Leader that several schools are being closed in the United Counties of Prescott-Russell part of the EOHU region.
Several provincial health units, including Peel Public Health west of Toronto, announced today that students would switch to remote learning beginning Tuesday for the remainder of the week.
Ontario’s public health units can close schools by issuing a Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
In the EOHU, Roumeliotis said that COVID-19 transmission rates in schools has been low.
“For the record, most cases are contracted in the community or households, and not in schools,” he said adding that the EOHU is keeping a “close eye on it moving forward.”
Ontario’s Ministry of Health reported April 5th there were 42 students and five staff across 26 schools in the EOHU who contracted COVID-19. Case counts in the region increased by 116 people over the Easter holiday weekend (April 1-4).
Students will be off school next week (April 12-16) for their rescheduled March Break.
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