CINDY DAY: Reaching out to a special lady
ROBIN SHORT: Two St. John's buddies are talking Raptors, and lots are ...
VIDEO: Newfoundland dog whisperer has some tips to keep dogs active ...
Call for Indigenous business chamber of commerce in Atlantic region
RUSSELL WANGERSKY: Thinking on your feet
KEVIN TOBIN CARTOON: March 28, 2020
World Meteorological Week
SPECIAL REPORT: The ocean’s ‘lungs’ are in the Labrador Sea
20 Questions with Jenelle Duval from Eastern Owl, First Light
A number of Toronto schools and universities are taking precautionary measures after reports that parents of students shared the same flight as a Toronto man who was diagnosed with coronavirus .
Health officials confirmed Canada’s first case of coronavirus Monday, after a man in his 50s was hospitalized at Sunnybrook hospital on Saturday. He had recently travelled to Wuhan, where the outbreak began. The man’s wife had accompanied him on his trip and could also have the illness, according to reports. However, her case has not been confirmed yet and she has been self-isolated at home.
Two Toronto private schools sent out statements to parents earlier this week, informing them that certain parents of students were on the same flight as the Toronto patient and have quarantined themselves for 14 days, as part of protocol.
Richmond Montessori High School (RHMS) issued an “emergency order,” CTV reported , asking parents who have travelled from countries with reported outbreaks to keep their children at home for 15 days before they returned to school.
On Sunday, the principal issued a statement saying that a parent of one child was on the same flight as the patient, yet “members of this family have been at RHMS despite our Emergency Order. This person is not the person being held at Sunnybrook Hospital,” read the letter.
“Please be advised that although this parent was on the same flight, the family has informed us that this parent does not show any symptoms as of this time. We have been advised that this parent has quarantined themselves away from their immediate family and that the family has also quarantined themselves until Feb. 07, 2020 as a precaution.”
The school did not respond to National Post requests for comment.
Dionne Malcolm, a spokesperson for the Toronto Montessori School, told the Post that the school released a notice to parents this week stating that “two parents of students at our school proactively informed us they were passengers on the same flight as the patient in the news.” The parents have voluntarily agreed to keep their families in quarantine for the suggested 14-day period, Malcolm added.
Richmond Montessori High School enrols 600 students per year, while Toronto Montessori enrols about 775, meaning an approximate total of 1,375 students could have been exposed to a risk of infection.
As well as the above institutions, various Toronto private schools have taken different precautionary actions with regard to the reports about the virus.
A supervisor at the Central Hill Montessori Willowdale campus, said that letters had been sent out to parents earlier this week and today, informing them of the outbreak and outlining certain policies. The letter sent Monday, she explained, outlined what the virus is and what measures are being taken by the province. A letter distributed Tuesday asked families who have travelled to keep their families home for a couple of days before returning. Families who have travelled to countries with reported outbreaks are required to submit travel documentation to the school.
A staff member with the Cornerstone Montessori Prep School in downtown Toronto said parents have been informed and that the school has maintained basic sanitation practices to keep the campus clean.
According to CTV , the principal of Somerset Academy, a private school in Markham, sent a letter home last weekend, asking families who have travelled to Asia to stay home for a minimum of 15 days. The letter also asked parents of children with flu-like symptoms that have developed within the last 12 hours to stay away.
“To avoid any member of our Somerset Academy family from getting sick with this illness, we are asking that all families who are currently away from school and are in Asia or are planning to go to Asia, to understand that you will not be permitted back into Somerset Academy or Yips until you and your family have been home from your travels a minimum of 15 days from the date you have landed back in Canada,” the letter reads.
“As proof of this, you will be asked to provide and show us your boarding pass(es) and/or stamped documents that states the date of your return from your trip.”
Various Toronto universities have published statements on the virus on their websites, asking students to contact health clinics if they feel any flu-like symptoms coming on and/or stay in their residences or homes and referenced the guidelines published by public health authorities.
There has been mounting fear in some communities in the GTA after reports detailing the virus’s outbreak in various countries, as well as its ongoing impact in China. Parents of school kids in the York region sent an online petition to the York District School Board, demanding that schools insist that anyone who has travelled to China self-quarantine for 17 days before returning to school.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Canada’s Public Health Agency have suggested that anyone at risk of contracting the virus self-quarantine between two and 14 days.
“York region has a large Chinese-Canadian population. There were a lot of people travelling to China before or during the Chinese New Year. We cannot be overly cautious in protecting our children,” reads part of the petition.
The board responded Monday, emphasizing that while they understand the families’ anxiety, they are following the advice of public health authorities “who have clearly stated that the risk to Canadians is low and no additional measures in school are needed at this time.”
The board also cautioned residents against seeing the virus as a “Chinese virus.” Those who are afflicted or are potential transmitters are not just people of Chinese origin. “The virus has appeared in many countries, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Canada,” they wrote. “ At times such as this, we must come together as Canadians and avoid any hint of xenophobia, which in this case can victimize our East Asian Chinese community and we must rely on our shared values of equity and inclusivity.
Ryan Bird, spokesman for the Toronto District School Board told the Post that the board has received concerns from parents within its jurisdiction, and said the board is following public health authority guidelines. He said the board is not implementing “any additional protocols at this time” apart from providing information.
Bird said he hasn’t received any concerns similar to that of the petition. However, he stressed that while they “understand that there are fears, we can’t make decisions based on fear. We have to make them based on medical facts.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020