Some parents are looking into alternative forms of education after Toronto Public Health update report detailing 112 active COVID-19 investigations, two school dismissals and 17 school outbreaks in the Toronto District School Board.
The latest schools to have declared outbreaks were Oakdale Park Middle School and Bloordale Middle School, after more than two cases were found.
The news comes right after the shutdown of Silverthorn Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke at the beginning of the week because of an outbreak.
Parents like Leighana Mais are worried not because of the outbreak but because the rules and regulations enforced by school staff affect the quality of education for her 11-year-old daughter.
“When you first start sending them to school from kindergarten, they’re always coming home with an illness,” said Mias. “It’s how they exercise their immune system. Now she won’t even tell me if she has a headache.”
Students who experience any slight symptoms of fever, cough, difficulty breathing, decrease, or loss of taste, Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea must remain home, self-isolate and await a test. The other option is contacting a health professional.
“Monday through Friday, there is a daily screening form that we initial and sign every morning. If we forget they will call us asking all those same questions over again,” Mias said”
In an email to parents, the school board asks parents to “screen their children daily for any COVID-19 symptoms and keep them home from school if they are sick or have had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.”
“This isn’t unexpected given COVID-19 continues to circulate in our city and how transmissible the Delta variant is,” said a tweet by Toronto Public Health.
More COVID-19 outbreaks may increase the number of school shutdowns and force more students to go back to online education.
“As much as I wanted to say the virtual school was okay, they didn’t care for what they were learning,” Mais said. “Having their social time taken away really affects the confidence of children. COVID is also a distraction to their education.”
She plans to do homeschooling instead of virtual schooling with the the school board, if an outbreak shuts her child’s school down.
“Stay home if sick, watch for COVID symptoms, Keep a distance and wear a mask, Get fully vaccinated if not already,” said Toronto Public Health.
No new guidelines have been mentioned for students and parents except for self-examination and isolation by Toronto Public Health. Since the beginning of the school year, there have been 266 COVID-19 cases among students and staff in 193 schools.