Despite dozens of local schools impacted by COVID-19, health unit isn’t seeing any spread in the classroom

"We put an awful lot of work collectively in reducing the risk," said region's top doctor

Since school started in early September, there have been 31 schools and daycares impacted by COVID-19. That includes those with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, the Simcoe County Public School Board, the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, and the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir.

Despite this, there has been no evidence of spread within classrooms to date.

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says this was to be anticipated. “We do know that it’s less transmissible among children,” said Dr. Gardner, “and we put an awful lot of work collectively in reducing the risk with all the control measures that are in place in schools.”

Gardner points out there are more controls put in place within the classroom, making it less likely to allow COVID’s spread. “Schools are environments that we can control to a greater degree than, evidently, work environments where we’re seeing spread happen, and certainly people’s social environments. So I’m happy about it,” he told Barrie 360 over the phone Tuesday.

However, even one case reported within a classroom is cause for some serious legwork on behalf of the health unit.

“It’s certainly a challenge for us, for the schools, and for parents and students to manage when there’s been an exposure. because then you have many people that are off in isolation,” he said. “That is very unfortunate, very challenging, but I am happy that there hasn’t been transmission to date.”

“I’m not completely surprised because of all the effort that’s gone into it and because, in fact, children are a less vulnerable group than adults when it comes to COVID-19,” Dr. Gardner concluded.