F.W. Begley Public School has 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19: GECDSB

Frank W. Begley Public School has 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Greater Essex County District School Board, making it Ontario's largest school outbreak.

The entire school was dismissed last week after WECHU declared an outbreak Nov. 17

F. W. Begley Public School in Windsor is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. All staff and students are to remain at home for the next 14 days. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

According to numbers from the public school board, Frank W. Begley Public School currently has the dubious honours of the largest school outbreak in Ontario.

The school's 26 cases, according to the Greater Essex County District School Board, is significantly larger than the largest outbreak listed on the provincial school outbreak website: it says Pickering High School, in Ajax, has 18 confirmed cases.

It is not clear when those numbers were last updated. The site lists Frank W. Begley with just 2 staff cases.

More than 400 students and staff from Frank W. Begley are currently in isolation after the health unit dismissed students and staff on Nov. 17.

Sharon Pyke, superintendent of education for the school board, said she was notified Saturday morning by the public health unit that "we had an additional three adults and an additional 20 students that were confirmed with COVID" at the school.

She says the board has made sure that all students in the school are well equipped for online learning which starts Monday.

"Online learning is not to be confused with the online learning school. We are trying to make sure that our students remain on the timetable that's familiar," she said. "They will be going to school the regular time that they would have gone to school, except they're doing it online, they'll be still having the same teachers ... and still having the same schedule."

GECDSB superintendent of education Sharon Pyke said the board has made sure that all students in the school are well equipped for online learning which will start on Monday. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Deep clean the school

Also happening on Monday is a scheduled cleaning of the entire building, Pyke said.

"So people can be rest assured that in addition to the regular cleaning that they've done and the enhanced cleaning that they've been doing due to COVID, that we are doing a full deep cleaning of the buildings so that when students come back, they can be reassured that everything has been cleaned."

She said the school board will meet Monday to take a look at infection numbers and patterns of spread to discuss next steps when it comes to outbreak and what that looks like in area schools.

Frank W. Begley is one of two schools in the region that have fully closed due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Students and staff at WJ Langlois Catholic Elementary School were dismissed Friday by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU). The school will remain closed for 14 days.

New cases reported

The health unit reported 42 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday.

There are 352 active cases in the region. Of these, 12 are in the hospital and 216 are self-isolating.

Four long-term care and retirement homes are in outbreak, including:

  • Riverside Place in Windsor with one resident case.
  • Berkshire Care Center in Windsor with one staff case. 
  • Lifetimes on Riverside in Windsor with five resident cases and four staff cases. 
  • Iler Lodge in Essex with 17 resident cases and one staff case. 

A community outbreak at a University of Windsor residence is still active. As well, one agriculture workplace in Leamington remains in outbreak.

Windsor-Essex has now had 3,290 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 77 deaths. 

The Windsor-Essex region has been moved into the province's orange COVID-19 category, with new restrictions coming into effect Monday.


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