COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kitchener elementary school
KITCHENER -- Region of Waterloo Public Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Catholic elementary school in Kitchener.
The outbreak at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Elementary School was announced in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
Public health officials said that two more cases had been identified in the same cohort as the previously confirmed case, which was identified on Oct. 25. The Waterloo Catholic District School Board's website shows that the original case was identified in a staff member.
That brings the total number of cases in the school to three. No other classrooms or cohorts will be dismissed, the public health statement said in part.
"The broader school community (parents and staff of the school) will be updated about this case by the School Board directly," the statement read.
"Public Health will continue to work closely with our school board partners to ensure appropriate infection prevention and control practices are in place and that they have the necessary support."
This is the first time that the WCDSB has had an outbreak, though another Catholic elementary school did have a class in self-isolation after two students tested positive.
Students and staff were notified on Thursday morning.
"I'm not nervous, but I'm definitely going to make sure they have their hand sanitizers and masks," parent Catarina Sisi said.
"With this news, it kind of adds an extra element of nervousness," teacher Natalie Weinstein said.
Public health officials said the two new cases are in a cohort that was already self-isolating. No other classrooms have been dismissed.
"We have to trust the guidelines from public health and we have to trust that they are making the decisions that are keeping us in mind and keeping the safety of everyone in mind," Weinstein said.
Before Thursday's outbreak was declared, 10 cases of COVID-19 had been identified in the region's Catholic schools.
The public school system, meanwhile, has dealt with two COVID-19 outbreaks to date: one at JF Carmichael and one at KCI. Both of those schools saw a total of two cases.
A Waterloo Region District School Board also has an active outbreak in a before-and-after school program, where one person tested positive for the disease.
You can keep track of every case in local schools with our online COVID-19 tracker.