Hamilton School Boards report 10 COVID cases in first week back to school

By: Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,  The Hamilton Spectator
Ten new COVID-19 cases were reported at public and Catholic schools in Hamilton in the first week back to school.
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, which has a student population of approximately 50,000, reported nine cases — eight students and one staff — between Feb. 8 and 13.
A student case was reported on Feb. 13 at Glendale Secondary School. Two cases — a student at Sherwood Secondary School and a staff member at Lisgar Elementary School — were reported Feb. 12.
The board reported two student cases on Feb. 11 — one at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School and one in the remote learning program.
On Feb. 10, four new cases were reported — one each at Dundas Valley Secondary School, Earl Kitchener Elementary School and Westdale Secondary School, and one in an e-learning program.
In the first week of resumed in-person learning, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, which serves approximately 29,000 students, reported one case of the virus in a student at St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School on Feb. 12.
“Cases are expected to occur in schools as this reflects what is happening in our community,” Hamilton public health spokesperson James Berry said in an email to The Spectator on Friday.
Berry said public health “will continue to monitor case counts at Hamilton schools.”
“We will work collaboratively with our school board partners to support the recommended enhanced health and safety measures to help protect our schools and community,” he said.
Schools in Hamilton reopened for in-person learning on Feb. 8 with enhanced health and safety measures — including daily screening requirements for secondary students, outdoor masking and new guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school — in place after weeks of remote learning.
In the same week, one student case was reported at McMaster University.
An international student “who had already been quarantining in residence” after arriving in late January tested positive on Feb. 4, according to a Feb. 11 release.