Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation local president believes overcrowded classrooms may be the source of latest COVID-19 outbreak at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Windsor .
Erin Roy heads District 9 and says teacher unions have asked the province for smaller class sizes at the high school level, but the number remains at 32 students per classroom, increasing the potential for the virus to spread.
Roy says it’s just not a good situation.
âWe’ve got everyone back, but they haven’t added any additional funding for additional lessons. So our maximum class size is 32. So you have 32 bodies close to adults in a room with a teacher and they’re there for two periods in a row. It’s a bit like being on a plane, isn’t it? “
She says the ventilation isn’t the best in some of the older schools either.
âWe have to recognize in Ontario that we have aging schools and where they can’t do this ventilation work, they add filtration systems in classrooms and things like that, but nothing will be perfect,â a- she continued. “Especially when you have a classroom with over 30 kids, it just won’t be perfect.”
Roy says he urges anyone who is feeling sick to stay home.
“If there is something that comes up, maybe be careful and don’t go in that day to see if it gets worse during the day because we are trying to mitigate and try to. keep schools open Everyone had a little bit of hope at the start of the school year, but we’ll just have to see how this plays out. No one wants to come back online, but unfortunately for the students in St. Joe’s they are already there, âRoy said.
Wednesday, the local health unit declared COVID-19 outbreak in St. Joseph’s after five positive cases were identified – an epidemic is declared when two or more cases are identified within 14 days.
The school is closed and all students have switched to virtual learning until further notice.