The province has stopped collecting and reporting data on COVID-19 cases in schools – but the curators of the Durham District School Board want to continue to provide all available information to the community.
At a special board meeting on Jan. 5, the trustees unanimously voted in favor of a motion from Whitby trustee Niki Lindquist that the board would report the school’s COVID data as much as possible.
“I think the government has given up its responsibility for providing the people with basic information who really need it to make informed decisions about the health and safety of themselves and their families,” Lundquist said.
The DDSB will “take all reasonable steps” to publicly report data on confirmed and suspected COVID cases in schools and also to ensure that there is a self-reporting mechanism for families who have access to tests.
The board also provides information about school closings and class closings as well as “unusual absenteeism” at schools.
It is not clear how much information there is to report.
On December 30th, the province announced an end to widespread PCR testing in Ontario.
Only high-risk people who have symptoms of COVID-19 or are at risk of developing a serious illness are eligible for a PCR test.
Most people who have a positive rapid antigen test result will no longer be asked or asked for a confirmatory PCR test.
“We will no longer have the same access to information that we had before the winter break,” said Norah Marsh, Education Director of the DDSB, to the Board of Trustees on January 3rd. “In our view, we really are not going to get a lot of information.” From public health related to positive COVID cases. “
In a memo to school authorities, the Department of Education says self-paced PCR kits will be provided to symptomatic elementary and secondary school students and educational staff “who only have symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19”.
From September to December 2021, a total of 875 school-based COVID-19 cases, as well as about 70 school outbreaks, were reported in Durham.
About a quarter of these cases were reported in the last two weeks of December.
For comparison, a total of around 480 cases were reported in schools in Durham between September and December 2020.