COVID-19 Outbreak declared at St. Francis of Assisi CES in Newcastle

PVNC Board Logo

Nov. 12, 2021

The following letter was sent to families at St. Francis of Assisi CES in Newcastle, informing the school community about a COVID-19 outbreak at the school.


Dear parents, guardians and staff, 

This letter is to inform you that there has been a second confirmed case of COVID-19 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School.  The identity of the individuals is protected by privacy legislation and will not be shared.

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, please refer to the Facts about COVID-19 Outbreak in Schools provided by the Durham Health Department.

Those identified as close contacts have been dismissed from school to isolate at home and will be contacted by DRHD with further direction.

Staff and students who were not dismissed from school should self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 

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

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
  • 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 Durham Health. 

We will continue to let families know about any further developments. Any new cases connected to this outbreak will be posted on the Board’s COVID-19 Advisory Page. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school.



Stephen Smith