Catholic high school students in Simcoe Muskoka to remain in their classroom during lunch

Public raised concerns about throngs of students off school property with no social distancing and few wearing masks

As of Tuesday, Catholic high school students in Simcoe Muskoka will only have one option when it comes to where they can eat their lunch. Students will have to remain in their classroom.

The move comes following growing public concern about throngs of students congregating in groups off school property at lunch with little sign of physical distancing, and not all students choosing to wear masks.

Students had the option to have lunch in their classroom, or they could leave the building.

In a letter to parents and guardians, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board said “As a result, many students who are going outside for lunch are gathering in close proximity to one another without masks on. This behaviour is concerning and affects the safety of all staff and students when they come back to school after their lunch.”

The board said the decision “will help keep students in their cohort for the duration of the day and therefore limit unnecessary contact with other students.”

Meanwhile, a second Catholic elementary school in Simcoe County is reporting a case of COVID-19. According to the board’s website, the school is Father F.X. O’Reilly in Tottenham. The classroom and school will remain open.

On Friday, a classroom at St. John Vianney in Barrie was closed because of a confirmed case of COVID-19, and students from the class are in quarantine for the next two weeks. Citing privacy reasons, the board did not disclose if the infected person is a staff member or student.