Area teachers frustrated with lack of disclosing COVID-19 cases

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Frustration is mounting for area teachers.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 9 President Erin Roy says her members are frustrated they can't disclose positive COVID-19 cases.

She says if a teacher is made aware of a confirmed case within their classroom, they can't share with the students.

"They're frustrated because they would like to inform, they don't need to give anybody's name just like somebody had lice in the class, you like to inform them, 'hey by the way you've had a lice outbreak maybe pay attention,'" says Roy.  "A teacher would like to also say, 'hey by the way there's been somebody in the class recently tested positive, just aheads up,' but we don't have that ability right now."

Roy told AM800's The Shift with Patty Handysides that some teachers and education workers are struggling with the issue.

"They are doing it in our school board in our special education classrooms because in many cases in those classrooms, there's no mask or students can't follow some of the mandates, so they are doing it there but for the rest of the classrooms they're not and there is a frustration around that," she adds.

Elementary and secondary students returned to the classroom on Jan. 17.

When schools reopened, the province no longer required them to share information about COVID-19 cases.

Instead parents are being notified when absenteeism among staff and students reaches 30 per cent, regardless of whether those absences are connected to the virus.

The restart after the holiday break was scheduled to resume on Jan. 3 but the provincial government pushed the date back to Jan. 5.

Students learned online from home from Jan. 5 to Jan. 14 in an effort to curb the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.