COVID-19 outbreak declared at St. Catherine CES in Peterborough
Dec. 8, 2021,
The following letter has been sent to the St. Catherine CES school community, informing families about a COVID-19 outbreak at the school.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that Peterborough Public Health (PPH) has confirmed additional cases of COVID-19 at St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School and has declared an outbreak at the school. The identities of the individuals are protected by privacy legislation and will not be shared.
What we can share is that there has been a total of eight confirmed cases to date within the school community. Some of the cases are associated with the previously communicated school bus outbreak and some cases are a result of community transmission (occurring outside the school community).
An outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff (or other visitors) in a school where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before/after school care).
Those identified as close contacts have already been notified and dismissed from school to isolate at home and will be contacted by PPH with further direction with respect to isolation period and testing.
Staff and students who were not dismissed from school are deemed low risk and should self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 using the school screening tool at COVID-19 school screening (ontario.ca).
Common COVID-19 symptoms include fever (temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or greater), chills, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, decrease or loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Other symptoms for adults over 18 may include fatigue (generally feeling unwell or tired), or muscle aches and pain. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/
We appreciate that the declaration of a school outbreak can be concerning. We are happy to partner with PPH to provide a special testing clinic for the St. Catherine CES community this weekend. The testing clinic will be available for any students or staff members who are high risk contacts or who are symptomatic. More details about booking appointments, date and location will be shared with families later this week.
Based on Public Health advice, we are implementing the following outbreak strategies:
- Posting outbreak signage at entrances and affected areas
- Only allowing essential visitors into the school or the affected area and informing outside agencies that use the school/childcare of the outbreak
- Further minimizing the movement of staff between cohorts
- Limiting student activities to their required cohorts and discontinuing extra-curricular activities, as much as possible
- Recommending to staff, students and their families who are in the outbreak cohort to avoid close contact/interactions with other households for non-essential reasons (e.g., no visiting, no playdates, no carpooling)
- Restricting all staff (including school, transportation, and staff from home care agencies or others that provide medical services to those in school) from working in other school or childcare locations
- Reinforcing masking of students for source control based on requirements for their age, use of mask and eye protection for staff members, hand hygiene for all, and maintaining physical distancing
- Reviewing the daily symptom screening process for all staff/essential visitors and students and enhance if needed. Refer to daily screening tool found https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/
- Reviewing the environmental cleaning and disinfection practices, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection for the outbreak area(s) and ensure that products are being used as per manufacturers’ instructions
Our school remains open, and as always, we continue to follow all public health and provincial recommendations, including thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all areas; frequent and proper handwashing by everyone in the building; wearing masks; maintaining physical distancing to the fullest extent possible, and following any other steps directed by PPH.
Now that the school is in an outbreak mode, additional cases at the school will be reported through the Board COVID advisory page. Parents/guardians will not receive community letters with respect to additional cases during the outbreak period.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school.