Four Brantford schools surpass 30 per cent absent threshold as province launches COVID-19 reporting portal
It's been nearly a week since Ontario schools reopened to in-person learning and information on school closures and absenteeism rates is now posted online.
Unlike how COVID-19 cases in classes were handled before the holiday break, boards are no longer required to report each staff or student case and full classrooms aren't being dismissed if someone tests positive for COVID-19.
Instead, student and staff absenteeism is being tracked. If 30 per cent of the school population is absent, a letter will be sent home in conjunction with public health notifying parents and reminding them of infection prevention and control measures.
The 30 per cent threshold will not automatically trigger a school closure, but a pivot to remote learning could be considered at that time.
On Monday morning, a provincial portal displaying absenteeism rates at schools across Ontario went live. The portal shows data from the day before, so information on the portal Monday was reported Friday.
Numbers includes all absences, including those unrelated to COVID-19.
As of Friday, four Brantford schools have surpassed the 30 per cent absenteeism threshold:
- Graham Bell-Victoria PS, 43.3 per cent
- Central PS, 35.7 per cent
- Centennial-Grand Woodlands PS, 32.9 per cent
- Bellview PS, 31.1 per cent
According to a spokesperson with the Grand Erie District School Board, many students at Bellview and Central Public Schools arrived late to class, which were recorded as absences. Late attendance updates showed both schools were below the 30 per cent threshold.
The school board added that Centennial-Grand Woodlands Public School and Graham Bell-Victoria Public School serve as hubs for enrolled remote learners who are not physically in class. The board said it included absences for remote learners, but the province only compared absences to the total number of in-person learners rather than both remote and in-class students.
Three other Brantford schools are nearing the 30 per cent mark:
- Major Ballachey PS, 28.4 per cent
- Prince Charles PS, 25.8 per cent
- Tollgate Technological Skills Centre SS, 27.5 per cent
As for Waterloo Region, because Friday was a PD Day for local Catholic and public elementary schools, high schools are the only Waterloo Region institutions on the list.
The highest absenteeism reported thus far in Waterloo Region is at Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge, where 27.1 per cent of staff and students were absent Friday.
That's followed by Southwood Secondary School in Cambridge, which sits at 26.5 per cent as of Friday.
The provincial website also lists the number of schools that have had to close due to COVID-19. Right now 16 of Ontario's 4,844 schools are shut down. The exact schools are not listed, that information is only available from individual school boards.
Absenteeism rates for schools across the province can be viewed on the portal here.
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