The Winnipeg college is shifting to distance studying Monday as instances enhance in cohorts and workers

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Scott Billeck The École Marie-Anne-Gaboury in the Louie Riel School Division will close its doors for two weeks after cases of COVID-19 infiltrated multiple cohorts and school staff last week. The École Marie-Anne-Gaboury in the Louie Riel School Division will close its doors for two weeks after cases of COVID-19 infiltrated multiple cohorts and school staff last week.

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A school in the Louis Riel School Division will be closing and moving to distance learning starting Monday after multiple cases surfaced among students and staff in the past week.

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École Marie-Anne-Gaboury, a K-8 school in St. Vital, will close on public health advice from April 26 to May 7 after multiple cases of the virus hit multiple cohorts and staff started last Thursday have to raise their heads.

In an update to the Schools Department’s website on Saturday, Manitoba public health officials highlighted several cases dating back to April 15, including:

• at least one confirmed COVID-19 case in school on April 19 and 20 in cohort F (grades 7/8)
• at least one positive case from April 19 to 22 in cohort A (grade 3/4)
• at least one positive case on April 20 in cohort D (kindergarten mornings)
• At least one confirmed COVID-19 case at school on April 15 in Cohort E
• at least one confirmed COVID-19 case in school on April 15 in cohort C (grades 3/4)

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The school also had at least one confirmed case on April 12 and 13 in Cohort B and at least one case on April 13 in Cohort C.

The school has now reported 12 cases to Manitoba Education. In an email, a school department spokesman said those 12 cases resulted in 103 students (26% of the school’s total student population) being forced to self-isolate at home.

In all cases, the department said the individuals may have been contagious while at school.

In a letter to parents on Friday, the school said it expected more possible cases over the weekend.

To avoid further escalation of cases and to mitigate the impact in our community, LRSD, in consultation with public health officials and Manitoba Education, has decided to allow all students and staff at École Marie-Anne-Gaboury to study for two weeks Home from moving period, ”read the letter signed by LRSD Superintendent and CEO Christan Michalik.

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The decision was made in consultation with public health, the letter said, to prevent transmission and ensure staff are available to study from home.

“Alternatively, if in-school learning continued, given the cycle of community transference, we would soon be unable to adequately staff the school to ensure continued learning and safety,” wrote Michalik.

The school department will reassess the situation before the scheduled resumption of schooling on May 10th.

Parents and legal guardians who work in critical services and have students in K-6 are asked to inform the school on Monday about the possibility of in-school lessons.

The school bus service to the school will also be discontinued during the two-week period.

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Schools continue to see cases

Schools in Manitoba have seen a steady stream of cases during the pandemic, although public health downplayed many of the infections, saying that while there are cases in schools, the volume of transmission is not high.

In its latest update, on April 20, the province announced 244 current cases in 126 schools in the province. That number includes 194 students and 50 employees. Seventy of these cases are worrying.

As of September 1, the province reports that 2,788 cases have been found in schools, most of them – 2,157 – among students, with the remaining 622 cases being among staff.

A total of 500 of the province’s 814 schools (as of 2019) have experienced at least one case. So far, there have been a total of 108 cases of concern detected in schools.

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Twitter: @scottbilleck

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