Coronavirus Canada updates: Almost all Quebec students in a class infected with COVID-19

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A school in Quebec’s Trois-Rivières has experienced a COVID-19 outbreak, where almost all of its students in one classroom contracted the virus.

After two children at École Louis-de-France were diagnosed with the virus, health officials tested all children part of the class, identifying seven other cases. Since the reopening of Quebec schools has resulted in low attendance numbers, there were 11 or 12 students in the classroom, said a spokesperson for Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Québec’s regional health authority Julie Michaud.

Health officials believe that one child originally contracted the virus in the community, then it spread to other students in the classroom.

École Louis-de-France has remained open, except for the classroom where the main outbreak occurred, which will stay closed until at least June 14 as it’s being disinfected and cleaned. Throughout the rest of the school, one other child and a staff member have tested positive. Among the 11 total patients, some didn’t show symptoms but they’re all now in self-isolation.

Michaud said to Yahoo Canada that preventative measures were put in place so children can maintain a two-metre distance. Proper hygiene practices were also regularly enforced.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s top doctor, has said multiple times over the course of the pandemic that kids aren’t at a high-risk to the virus compared to other age brackets, and that it’s normal to see some cases as the province reopens its school.

Elementary schools around Quebec started to reopen May 11 (with the exception of those in the Montreal area), which was a first for a Canadian province. High schools, CEGEPs and post-secondary institutions around Quebec will also remain closed till the end of August.

During its first three weeks of reopening, there have been 78 cases (44 students and 34 staff) among 72 school boards, according to Quebec’s ministry of education.

The Mauricie region — where Trois-Rivières’ École Louis-de-France is located — had the most cases with 22.

In May, a school in Trois-Rivières, École Saint-Paul, had to close for several days after four teachers and two students tested positive. Arruda said that he believes some of the teachers had become infected before returning to schools.

The province saw 46 per cent of its students at public schools, and 51 per cent of its students at private schools, return to classrooms throughout the first week of reopening. There were about 200,000 students who were eligible to return, according to The Globe and Mail.

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