Hamilton

Ancaster private school stayed open despite COVID-19 lockdown, now facing charges

A private school is facing charges after Hamilton bylaw officers say it was open without any approval from the province.

Tapply Binet's principal says the students are spaced apart and wearing masks

Tapply Binet College was open when it was supposed to be closed because of provincial lockdown rules, according to the city. (Tapply Binet College)

A private school in southern Ontario is facing charges after Hamilton bylaw officers say it was open without any approval from the province.

City spokesperson Michelle Shantz said bylaw officers received two complaints about Tapply Binet College in Ancaster. The first complaint was on April 21 and the second was on May 3.

"Officers investigated and observed students in the building," she said.

Paul Johnson, director of the city's emergency operations centre, said Tapply Binet had no documentation to show it was allowed to remain open.

"We saw it was open [without] the proper documentation in place and so there were both charges laid to an individual and the entity itself," he said during a media briefing on Monday.

The city has charged the school with obstructing the investigation and failing to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA). Those fines can cost between $750 and $1,000.

Sue Davidson, the school's principal, said in an interview that she's allowed to stay open and is operating for the benefit of the students.

She says public health asked for a letter signed by local public health saying she could operate, but she doesn't have one and won't get one.

She says there are 10 students between Grade 7 and Grade 12 in the building, and that they wear masks.

Davidson says they were in classes of four or fewer students when bylaw officers showed up. Students are still in the building, but she says they are separated even more while their instructors teach from home. Davidson also says she teaches a class with three students.

Province says only exceptions for special needs students

She also says a memorandum from the province gives her the flexibility to decide how to run the school.

The province says anyone who can teach or learn from home should do so. It also provides extra detail for students with special needs.

"Most students with special education needs will be learning remotely during this period," read a statement from the Ministry of Education. 

"In-person learning should be reserved for special education needs students who cannot be accommodated through remote learning."

Hamilton sees 125 new cases, 3 more deaths

Hamilton reported 125 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as well as three more deaths.

Ninety-four cases were recorded on Tuesday.

The city has seen a total of 18,832 cases over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,008 are active, while nearly 91 per cent are resolved. Three-hundred and seventy-two people who had COVID-19 have died.

Hamilton's seven-day average for new cases is at 129 and just under 12 per cent of people swabbed for the virus have tested positive.

Forty outbreaks are ongoing, including at apartment complex Rebecca Towers, which has now tallied 109 cases.

St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton is currently caring for 42 patients with COVID-19. The hospital's website shows it's at 126 per cent of its ICU occupancy rate after more than doubling its number of beds.

Hamilton Health Sciences has 93 patients who have tested positive and is currently at 89 per cent of its overall funded ICU capacity.

Brant

Twenty-three more cases of COVID-19 were logged in Brantford and Brant County is the past 24 hours.

The area has recorded 2,964 cases so far, including 161 that are active and 2,783 that are resolved.

Twenty people who had the virus have died.

Nine people with COVID-19 are in hospital.

A total of 62,450 doses of vaccine have been administered in the county to date, with 4,754 people receiving both doses.

Haldimand-Norfolk

Haldimand and Norfolk have 192 active cases as of Wednesday.

The counties have reported 2,489 cases. Of those, 2,251 are resolved and 41 deaths are considered COVID-related.

Health officials have administered 45,318 doses of vaccine so far and 5,029 people have completed their vaccine series.

Niagara

Forty-nine new cases were added to Niagara's count on Wednesday, for a total of 14,915 to date.

That includes 1,565 cases that are active and 12,952 that are resolved.

Data from the region shows 398 people who had the virus have died.

Nearly 69 per cent of cases in the area are variants of concern.

Six more outbreaks were announced Wednesday. Thirty-three are ongoing.

Niagara has administered 208,954 doses of vaccine as of Wednesday. Nearly 41 per cent of the region's residents have a first dose, with 2.7 per cent having both shots.

Halton

The number of COVID-19 cases in Halton has risen by 95.

The Region has recorded 16,463 cases so far (15,907 confirmed, 556 probable), with 736 that are active and 15,509 that are resolved.

To date, 218 people who had the virus have died.

Twenty of the new cases were in Burlington. The city has seen 53 deaths linked to the virus.

Halton has administered 239,623 COVID-19 shots so far.

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