The Québec government issued an update Tuesday to its running list of schools reporting at least one positive case of COVID-19, identifying 70 schools across the province impacted by the virus. A further 50 cases are being investigated and will be added to the list once validated. The New Frontiers School Board is listed as having two positive cases.
“The two cases at St-Willibrord School in Chateauguay are two students that are registered at the school. The parents informed Santé-Publique and the school last week,” says NFSB Director-General Rob Buttars. According to a message posted to the school’s Facebook page, the two students in question were tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of the school year, and have not attended school yet this year.
The Facebook message then reminds parents of the NFSB protocol, which guarantees that in the case a student or staff member who has been in attendance receives a positive test result, the school will immediately inform the school community and follow all directions as outlined by public health officials.
The list also reports two schools within the Centre de Services Scolaire de la Vallée-des-Tisserands have seen positive cases identified, including the École Edgar-Hébert elementary school in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and the École Saint-Urbain in Saint-Urbain-Premier.
In an article published by the Journal Le Saint-François, the CSSVT refutes the inclusion of the École Edgar-Hébert on the list. “The information conveyed is inaccurate and did not come from the Centre de services scolaires de la Vallée-des-Tisserands,” says Luc Langevin, the director of services for the secretary-general and communications at the CSSVT.
Langevin suggests that there have been no positive cases reported in CSSVT schools to date. He confirms that one person at the École Edgar-Hébert tested positive for COVID-19, however this individual had not been present in the school this year and should not be factored into the statistics according to public health officials.
Questioning the numbers
The government’s tally of schools reporting cases falls far short of the number being reported on the informal COVID Écoles Quebec website (covidecolesquebec.org), which was started by Olivier Drouin, a Montreal father who began to track cases in schools before the government decided to make this information public. As of today, the website, which is continually updated, lists 179 schools with at least one positive case.
The government suggests a certain lag between the time the cases are reported and then appear on the official list is to be expected.