12,000 Windsor-Essex students dismissed this fall, three new school outbreaks declared

Desks are spread out at St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School in Amherstburg, Ont. on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (Rich Garton / CTV Windsor)

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit says about 12,000 students have been dismissed since school resumed in September due to COVID-19 cases.

WECHU indicated 600 Windsor-Essex class cohorts have been dismissed and students were told to self-isolate following COVID exposures in classrooms or school buses. With about 20 students in each cohort, that means about 12,000 have been temporarily out of the classroom over the last three months.

Acting medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex Dr. Shanker Nesathurai says the schools are following public health protocols, but he’s concerned with the number of social gatherings in the region and unvaccinated people.

"Those 12,000 young people are doing their part to break the chain of transmission. Those 12,000 young people and their families have had their lives disrupted,” says Nesathurai.

Nesathurai says an issue is that the virus can spread among families and to older populations and people that are more vulnerable.

He is appealing to more people to get vaccinated to help contain the spread.

“The people who are most benefiting from the disruption of children are unvaccinated people in their 50s and 60s,” he said, adding that there is a much higher vaccination rate for people in their 70s and 80s.

Nesathurai says the main goal continues to be keeping schools open for in-person learning.

SCHOOL OUTBREAKS

WECHU declared COVID-19 outbreaks at three more local schools.

The new outbreaks are listed at Malden Central Public School, St. John Vianney Catholic Elementary School and Stella Maris Catholic School.

There are currently eight school outbreaks in the region.

Meanwhile the health unit rescinded the outbreak at St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School in south Windsor. The board reopened the school Wednesday after about a week of online learning.