COVID-19 continues to make its presence felt in Norfolk schools.
The latest within the Grand Erie District School Board to report a brush with the coronavirus are Lakewood Elementary School in Port Dover, Langton Public School, Port Rowan Public School, Teeterville Public School and Simcoe Composite School.
On the weekend, the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School Board also reported two cases connected to St. Joseph’s School in Simcoe.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has confirmed single cases of COVID-19 connected respectively to Lakewood Elementary, Port Rowan PS, Langton PS and SCS school communities.
The case in Teeterville also involves someone connected to its school community. However, in a note to parents, principal Ian Summers said: “The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit has not identified any close contacts within our school as the individual was not in our building during their period of communicability.”
Notifications to school communities in Port Dover, Port Rowan, Langton and Simcoe all contain the same basic information.
“Upon receiving this news, we immediately contacted the students and staff initially identified by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit as close contacts to this COVID-19 case,” the Grand Erie communiqués say.
“The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will be in direct contact with these individuals as they work through their contact tracing. The health unit will provide further direction and next steps to these individuals.”
Port Rowan principal Robin Callens, Langton principal Deb Opersko, Summers in Teeterville, and SCS principal John Della Fortuna shared similar messages with their respective school communities.
This is the second such communication Opersko has issued. She also notified the Langton public school community of a similar positive case in November.
The Grand Erie board says only those with known direct contact with the unidentified positive individuals were notified in advance.
“If your family was not contacted, you have not been identified as a close contact at this time.”
The Grand Erie and Catholic boards will issue follow-up communications based on new information.
In the meantime, it is business as usual at the affected schools. Custodial staff continues with enhanced sanitation procedures. These include the continuous disinfecting of common areas and other deep-cleaning measures.
For students required to quarantine, Grand Erie and Catholic board staff will continue to ensure learning continues with in-home instruction.
The boards warn everyone to be on the lookout for COVID-19 symptoms. If students present with flu- or cold-like symptoms, the boards ask that students stay home and be assessed by families’ primary health-care provider.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit continues to monitor the outbreaks and is conducting contact tracing as necessary. This includes ongoing contact tracing at St. Joseph’s School.
“This individual’s classes have been directed by the health unit to self-isolate,” principal Heather Graham says in her letter to parents. “Over the next 24 to 48 hours, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will be in direct contact with these individuals as they work through their contact tracing.”