Quebec says 70 schools now have cases of COVID-19, falling short of informal reports

Students try to keep their distance as they enter the Philippe-Labarre Elementary School in Montreal, on Thursday, August 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS-Paul Chiasson

By Katelyn Thomas, CTV Montreal

After updating its running list, Quebec is reporting at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 at 70 of its schools across the province. 

The first public tally published on Friday counted 47 schools that reported cases among employees or students up until Sept. 3. The new total, which appears to have been made public on Tuesday, includes schools that submitted reports on Sept. 4.

Two schools added to the list in Quebec’s latest update are in the Monteregie region, one of which is a high school and the other, an elementary. Another two have been added in the Laval region, both of which are elementary schools (see the list below).

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said on Friday that the number of schools with confirmed cases needs to be contextualized alongside the thousands of institutions across the province.

Quebec decided to make its list of schools with COVID-19 cases publicly available following criticism from parents who said they deserved to know, one of which went so far as to create his own informal list in the interim. 

Measured up against his own data, the father who made the list, Olivier Drouin, claimed on Friday that Quebec's first tally lacked dozens of schools. 

“As of now we've tallied over 80 cases,” he said at the time. “That's 80 schools that have at least one case of COVID.”

Quebec's count on Tuesday is inching toward that number, but Drouin's list is now counting 114 schools. Drouin said parents across the province have sent him official letters from their children's schools confirming at least one case of COVID-19 at the institution -- many of which are not on the government list.  

A lag in data could be to blame, according to English School Board Association president Russell Copeman. 

“The broader issue of the number of schools and the names of the schools and where they're located is, of course, important information that needs to be made available to the public,” he said. “But I think we all need to understand there is going to be a delay in that reporting.”

The government's list is below. 

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