Toronto Public Health shuts down entire high school for the first time this school year over COVID-19 outbreak

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For the first time this school year, an entire high school in Etobicoke has been closed by Toronto Public Health following an outbreak of COVID-19.

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All students at Silverthorne Collegiate Institute at Mill Road have been dismissed from individual classes and activities, the health unit announced Monday night.

This means that for some time the whole school will learn remotely, According to the Toronto District School Board.


“A school dismissal is hard at the best of times,” the Ward 10 count said. Joe Cressey, who is also the chairman of the Toronto Board of Health.

“After almost 19 months into this pandemic – and all the ups and downs parents and students have been through – it’s an extremely difficult decision,” he said. “While Toronto has become a world leader in vaccination rates, this dismissal further demonstrates that we are not out of the woods yet.”

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Public Health is recommending testing the entire school. They will follow up with close contacts as they continue to investigate the outbreak.

The dismissals — the first “full school” for the current school year — can last up to 10 days, but may also vary depending on the length of the investigation, according to a Toronto Public Health spokesperson.

Although the unit announced a shutdown on Monday, they initially tweeted Regarding the identification of two or more cases linked to Silverthorne last Thursday.

An outbreak is declared in a school when there are two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus within a period of 14 days. As of October 8, there were 21 active school outbreaks and 30 active investigations in 122 school settings, according to Toronto Public Health.

“TPH is encouraging vaccination for the entire school community, including family members of students, if they have not already been fully vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine,” the agency said. ”

Cressy echoed this recommendation: “We must continue our relentless vaccination campaign and maintain a cautious and proactive approach to gathering settings such as schools.”

TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said the board is “working closely with Toronto Public Health and helping in any way we can.”

He said as of Monday night there were 11 confirmed cases among students – four of them expected to be “resolved” by Tuesday.

Although Ontario is planning to introduce COVID-19 rapid tests in some hot spots for unvaccinated children, parents and schools have come a long way to help protect students from the virus. This has already come under question.

“COVID-19 activity in a school setting is not unexpected, given that the virus continues to spread in Toronto and how transmissible the Delta variant is,” TPH said.

To find out if your child’s school has COVID-19 cases, use STAR’s tools to search Ontario schools by name and stay updated about the number of cases.

Irelyne Lavery is a Toronto-based staff reporter for the Star. Reach him via email: [email protected]

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