ontario school

Ontario schools see COVID cases and staff walkout on first day back

It's the much-anticipated/dreaded first day back to school for some students in Ontario today, including in the GTA, and the academic year is off to an even rockier start than anticipated.

While staff at a number of institutions have already had their COVID-19 fears confirmed within a few hours of opening their doors, others decided to walk out due to insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).

An unconfirmed number of employees from St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School staged a mini walkout first thing today after they were provided face masks that they say weren't up to Health Canada standards — a fact that local school board staff contended, though they let the teachers exercise their right to refuse to work.

The principal of the institution was apparently able to get the teachers alternative masks so that they were able to get back into classrooms today.

Meanwhile, a cluster of at least five Ottawa-area catholic schools have reported potential COVID-19 exposures on Tuesday.

And, three workers from Peel Public School Board — of which St. Joan of Arc is a part — tested positive for the virus before students even returned, as did at least one person who was in a Waterloo Region District School Board school just days ago.

The Toronto District School Board also announced a possible case at one of institutions leading up to the big day back today.

Teachers' unions are among those who are wary of the province's back-to-school plan, taking issue with things such as class sizes to the point that they've submitted claims with the labour board, while health officials in the province grow increasingly worried about our overall spike in new cases, with numbers growing day-over-day. 

One can only imagine how much worse things at the new schools proposed by the province's top anti-maskers would go over.

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