COVID-19 outbreak declared at St. Elizabeth CES in Bowmanville
April 15, 2021,
The following letter was sent to the St. Elizabeth Catholic Elementary School community in Bowmanville, informing students and families that the Durham Health Department has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the school.
Dear parents and guardians,
This letter is to inform you that there has been a second confirmed case of COVID-19 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Elementary School and the Durham Region Health Department (DRHD) has declared an outbreak at the school.
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). For further information about COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, please refer to the Facts about COVID-19 Outbreak in Schools provided by the Durham Health Department.
As directed by Durham Region Health Department, we have identified all individuals/cohorts who were known to have been in close-contact with the individuals who are ill during their infectious period. Those identified as close contacts will be contacted by the Durham Region Health Department and be provided further guidance.
The individuals who are ill are at home isolating. The identity of the individuals is protected by privacy legislation and will not be shared.
Based on Health Department advice we are implementing the following outbreak strategies:
- Posting outbreak signage at entrances and affected area.
- Informing outside agencies that use the school/daycare.
- Only allowing essential visitors into the school.
- Further minimizing the movement of staff between cohorts.
- Limiting student activities to their required cohorts and discontinuing extra-curricular activities, as much as possible.
- Restricting all staff (including school, transportation, staff from home care agencies or others that provide medical services to those in school) from working in other schools.
- Reinforce use of personal protective equipment including masking of students for source control based on requirements for their age, mask and eye protection for staff members, hand hygiene for all, and maintaining physical distancing of 2 metres, as much as possible.
- Review the daily symptom screening process for all staff/essential visitors and students and enhance if needed.
- Review of environmental cleaning and disinfection, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection for the outbreak area(s).
Common COVID-19 symptoms include fever (temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius or greater), new or worsening cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms of COVID-19 can include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, changes to sense of taste and/or smell, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and runny nose, or nasal congestion (not caused by seasonal allergies). For more information about COVID-19, please visit www.durham.ca/novelcoronavirus
If staff or students develop one or more symptoms, immediately self-isolate, call Durham Health Connection Line (DHCL) at 1-800-841-2729 and seek testing.
We will continue to follow all health precautions at the school, 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 the health unit.
We will continue to let families know about any further developments. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
Gerard van den Wildenberg