More than 60 TDSB schools now reporting coronavirus cases, board enhancing mask policies

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WATCH: More than 50 TDSB schools report COVID-19 cases – Sep 29, 2020

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is reporting that there are now more than 60 schools with one or more staff and/or students who have tested positive for coronavirus.

The milestone was reported by the TDSB on Tuesday, the same day the board announced it was enhancing its guidelines requiring masks and face coverings. TDSB schools began a staggered reopening for in-person classes on Sept. 15.

In an update released on Tuesday, TDSB officials said parents and guardians will now be required to wear masks during pick-ups and drop-offs at schools. Another notable change involved the use of face shields.

Read more: Toronto school temporarily closes after COVID-19 outbreak

“In situations where a student, staff or visitor is not wearing a mask due to an approved exemption, a face shield may be required as an alternative measure of protection,” the updated guidelines said.

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When it comes to the use of masks and face coverings at TDSB properties, spokesperson Ryan Bird told Global News there was an “overwhelming” number of people following the guidelines. However, he said staff found there are still opportunities for improvement.

READ MORE: TDSB provides behind-the-scenes look at COVID-19 school preparations

“We are seeing the numbers continue to increase across Toronto and elsewhere and after having practiced this for a number of weeks now, we had learned areas where we could tighten it up,” Bird said.

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More than 50 TDSB schools have confirmed COVID-19 cases – Sep 29, 2020

“We don’t want to take any chances. We understand that there may be situations where masks may not be able to be worn, so that’s why we’re encouraging the use of face shields because at least it provides some protection. Is it as good as a mask? No, but at least it provides some protection.”

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READ MORE: New TDSB elementary school plan mandates smaller classes, all students to wear masks

To date, there were outbreaks (defined as having two or more individuals testing positive for coronavirus within 14 days and having some connection to a school) declared by Toronto Public Health at two TDSB schools: Mason Road Junior Public School and Glen Park Public School. As of Tuesday evening, most of the 62 schools reporting cases had just one staff member or student test positive for coronavirus.

For an up-to-date list of the affected schools, click here.