Southridge Public School in Kitchener will be closed until January due to a "sharp increase" in COVID-19 cases at the school.

A notice sent to parents on Monday, which was obtained by CTV Kitchener, said the school will close as of Tuesday, Dec. 7. The school will stay closed until January 2022.

A news release from public health said there are currently 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases at the school. Six classroom cohorts, one bus cohort and two meeting cohorts have been dismissed so far.

“We are taking important and necessary steps to protect children, staff and the school community from exposure to the COVID-19 virus,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region's medical officer of health, in the release. “We are closing a school in the Waterloo Region District School Board for the first time since the return to in-class learning this fall due to concern about the potential for widespread and rapid transmission of the virus. This school closure is the second in Waterloo Region since the return to in-class learning.”

According to the notice, the school is working closely with public health to prevent any further spread of the disease.

Families can pick up COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits for the winter break on Dec. 16, an update on the school's website said.

Learning will continue online.

Students and staff members identified as high-risk contacts should seek COVID-19 testing immediately.