Ottawa

2nd Ottawa elementary school closed by COVID-19 outbreak

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said it closed École élémentaire catholique Marius-Barbeau in the Heron Gate area south of downtown out of an abundance of caution.

Evidence of spread to several cohorts in École élémentaire catholique Marius-Barbeau

École élémentaire catholique Marius-Barbeau on Notting Hill Avenue in Ottawa Oct. 1, 2021, the morning after it was closed by a COVID-19 outbreak. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

A second elementary school in Ottawa has been closed this week because of a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said it closed École élémentaire catholique Marius-Barbeau in the Heron Gate area south of downtown out of an abundance of caution.

"Our investigation suggests that there is evidence of spread of COVID-19 to several cohorts in the school," health officials said in a letter sent to parents Thursday evening.

"OPH will continue to work with the school to monitor the situation to ensure all appropriate outbreak measures are in place."

The exact duration of the closure isn't known, but health officials are telling parents to prepare for the school to be shut down for at least 10 days.  

The board and OPH each listed seven COVID-19 cases linked to the school in their most recent updates on Thursday: five students and two staff.

What happens next

A school outbreak is declared when two people test positive and there is a possibility transmission happened at the school. A school-wide closure is considered when multiple areas in the school are affected or when many cases are reported with no identifiable links. 

Health officials will contact families directly if their children are considered high-risk contacts, which will mean getting a test. More testing instructions will come from the school on Monday, OPH said.

Only people who are contacted directly need to be isolated. Those who aren't contacted should still monitor for symptoms, avoid playgroups and people with chronic illnesses and stay home except for essential reasons. 

According to Ottawa Public Health's dashboard, 12 schools are experiencing outbreaks. Just five of the 70 cases linked to these outbreaks are staff.

Earlier the week, Barrhaven's St. Benedict Catholic Elementary School was the first school in Ottawa this academic year to be closed by a COVID-19 outbreak. It's one of the city's largest school outbreaks of the pandemic.

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