THUNDER BAY – The St. Martin elementary school is being closed to in-person learning as of Friday, as health authorities track a growing COVID-19 outbreak.
Nine confirmed cases have been associated with the school of around 550 students, medical officer of health Dr. Janet DeMille stated in a letter to the school community released Thursday.
That’s an increase of four from the previous day, when an outbreak was declared at the school. All of the new cases would be considered "close contacts" of previously identified cases, DeMille noted.
The first positive case was reported at the Westfort-area school on Monday.
Students will move immediately to online learning as of Friday, the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board advised. That will last at least until "early to mid next week," the board said in a statement, calling it a "precautionary approach" that could be extended.
The health unit will be recommending COVID-19 testing in the broader school community, not just among those in impacted cohorts, the agency said. Further details will be communicated shortly.
In her letter, DeMille said the health unit would maintain regular communication with the school community.
"I recognize that events like this can cause significant concern and distress for families," she wrote. "These are challenging times. I want to assure you that public health will take the measures necessary to protect the students and staff as we navigate through this."