Huntsville school closed amid COVID-19 outbreak
A Huntsville school is closed, marking Simcoe Muskoka's first school closure due to a COVID-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic.
In a letter to parents, the Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) said the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit "made the difficult decision to temporarily close Spruce Glen Public School."
The closure took effect Wednesday, with students moving to virtual learning for the time being.
According to TLDSB, there have been 24 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 86 per cent of classes affected by the outbreak that was declared on Nov. 22.
The board hopes to reopen the school with a target date of Mon., Dec. 13.
In the meantime, students and staff diagnosed with the virus are required to isolate, and all others are urged to get tested.
A testing clinic has been arranged for Wednesday and Thursday between 9 a.m. and noon at the Active Living Centre on Park Drive in Huntsville.
The SMDHU said several factors are taken into consideration before closing a school.
- how many individuals in the school have tested positive;
- how many individuals are identified as close contacts;
- how many students and staff attend the school;
- what is the vaccine status of the student population;
- how quickly could the virus spread at the school; and
- what measures are needed to slow transmission?
The health unit also looks at other factors, such as testing rates and capacity, to follow up with contacts.
Spruce Glen has 336 students and 40 staff members.
The SMDHU stressed the importance of daily screening before sending students to school, and if symptoms develop, to self-isolate and get tested.