WATERLOO -- The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) declared COVID-19 outbreaks at nine schools on Monday.

Officials note that each outbreak is contained within student cohorts and are not considered school-wide outbreaks.

The schools included on the WRDSB website are:

  • Sandhills Public School (Kitchener)
  • Grand River Collegiate Institute (Kitchener)
  • Chicopee Hills Public School (Kitchener)
  • Bluevale Collegiate Institute (Waterloo)
  • Waterloo Collegiate Institute (Waterloo)
  • Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School (New Hamberg)
  • Galt Collegiate Institute (Cambridge)
  • Jacob Hespeler Secondary School (Cambridge)
  • Southwood Secondary School (Cambridge)

At Southwood Secondary School, outbreaks have been declared in three class cohorts and two bus routes. Public Health linked a previously reported student case to an earlier infection in the same cohort. A previous outbreak was declared at the school on Dec. 22. Tuesday's regional COVID-19 dashboard update shows ten active cases at Southwood Secondary School, seven more than on Monday.

Chicopee Hills Public School is facing outbreaks in two separate class cohorts. No additional staff or students are required to isolate and no further close contacts have been identified.

Officials declared an outbreak in a single cohort at Galt Collegiate Institute. An earlier outbreak was declared at the school on Dec. 22. Tuesday's dashboard update brings Galt Collegiate Institute's active case count to five infections, three more than on Monday.

The remaining school outbreaks are among single cohorts after connecting a student case to an earlier infection. No additional staff or students are required to isolate and no further close contacts have been identified.

Public Health said it's treating every single case of COVID-19 as a potential variant of concern before a variant is identified.

Tuesday's update on the Region of Waterloo's COVID-19 dashboard shows 11 new school outbreaks, including six within the WRDSB, three in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) and two in private schools.

The dashboard reports eight pre-existing outbreaks declared from Dec. 20 to Dec. 22, comprised of five schools in the WRDSB, two within the WCDSB and one private school.


As more outbreaks are declared in Waterloo Region, Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will make the decision on whether or not schools will return to in-person learning later this week.

"Nobody really knows what the plan is," said parent Curtis Knischewsky. "I guess Monday is the day everybody is supposed to go back.

"I'd have to shift hours at work to make it [virtual learning] happen. That's pretty much what we're anticipating at this point."

Spokespeople for Waterloo Region's public and Catholic school boards both say that, whether schools will reopen Monday, is up to the province.

"I know the minister has been sitting down at the table along with the Minister of Education and we will be having an announcement in the next couple days," said Ford. "We just want to see how things go and obviously speak to the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Moore."

The presidents of the elementary and seconday teachers' unions in Waterloo Region, say they are frustrated with the unknown.

"Parents have to think about what to do with kids," said Rob Gasho of OSSTF. "Teachers have to think about how to shift everything they needed to do online."

Both say that, while learning in person is best for students, it needs to be safe.

"Teachers have become very adept at making those changes," said Jeff Pelich of ETFO. "It doesn't mean it's fun, it doesn't mean they enjoy doing it, but we will be ready as best we can."

Infectious disease expert Zahid Butt says it's better to err on the side of caution.

"It might be more prudent to actually not open the schools and then consider online teaching at least for a month before we really get a good picture of the cases in the community," he said. "You see a surge of cases after the Christmas weekend and probably would see an increase of cases after the New Year weekend."

Meanwhile, some parents say it's best to send their kids back to get the education they deserve.

"They like their teachers," said Chris Cober . "They don't like online learning."

With reporting from CTV Kitchener's Carmen Wong