Ontario just launched a new website to track COVID-19 in schools
With school back in session for most of Ontario, and the first day of classes in a post-COVID world approaching for the rest, concerns continue to mount over potential student superspreaders.
The Ontario government, however, maintains that its back-to-school plans are among the safest in the country, despite much opposition and some evidence to suggest the contrary.
Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but we'll all have the chance to see what happens ASAP via daily updates on COVID-19 cases in schools across the province.
Ontario's Ministry of Health has launched a new, school and childcare centre-specific coronavirus tracking website to provide "a summary of COVID-19 activity in publicly-funded Ontario schools."
Want to know if your school or childcare centre has a #covid19 case? This site will tell you that across Ontario. COVID-19 cases in schools and child care centres #topoli #onpoli #onted https://t.co/WJBBOVHM6g— Trustee Norm Di Pasquale TCDSB Ward 9 (@normsworld) September 11, 2020
Like the government's main portal for daily epidemiologic summaries, the COVID-19 cases in schools and child care centres website will be updated every weekday morning at 10:30 a.m. with the most up-to-date data available.
This includes overall summaries as well as breakdowns of cases at individual schools and childcare centres.
"Parents deserve to know what we know," reads a statement from the province announcing the new site.
"As Ontario students return to school, we are developing new and innovative ways to combat COVID-19 in the classroom, including this webpage, which is just one way the Ontario government is leveraging technology to protect the health and safety of the next generation."
As students head back to school, we are ensuring parents & teachers have rapid access to #COVID19 cases in schools & child care centres in their community. Check out our new tool, updated daily, to stay informed: https://t.co/rANX48PcvT— Lorne Coe (@lornecoe) September 11, 2020
So far, there's not a whole lot to see: Only 13 of Ontario's 4,828 publicly funded schools have been linked to COVID infections so far, four of them in students and nine in staff.
Of the impacted schools, six are in Ottawa, two are in Oakville, two are in Brampton, one is in Pickering, one is in Mississauga and one is in Waterloo.
All schools are set to be open for the fall semester by Sept. 21, according to the province, though it's not likely we'd see any major spikes show up until a few weeks later due to delays in data processing.
Cases of COVID-19 are already rising among the general public, particularly in large urban centres and among people under 40, but only time will tell how large this inevitable second wave of the pandemic swells — and how much of a role schools will play in that happening.
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