Loyola High School is physically closing and moving to online learning due to several positive COVID-19 tests within the school’s community.
The administration of the school based in the Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood near Montreal West issued a letter to parents, saying remote classes will begin Tuesday.
“Effective immediately, all school facilities are closed and unavailable for entry,” the letter states. “After the recommended time for surface contamination to dissipate, our facilities management team will complete a thorough disinfection.”
The decision comes after the administration learned and informed parents last Friday about a student who contracted the novel coronavirus. The school says it has since been notified of other positive tests within the school community, but did not specify how many people are affected.
Loyola has contacted all students and any other school member who may have been exposed.
Online learning at the all-boys Catholic school will last until at least Oct. 26. An update will be provided on exact dates, according to the school.
The administration says it will also reach out once it is safe for students and staff to collect their belongings from the school, but the building is off-limits for now.
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Sabi Hinkson, a teacher at the school, told Global News she was informed on Sunday that she would have to be tested after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
She said Loyola High School has gone “above and beyond” to ensure everyone is safe, but that she is concerned because she has also taken measures to protect her loved ones throughout the pandemic.
“I have respiratory problems and so do my dad and children. The thought of me having COVID and bringing it home for my family was devastating,” she said.
Loyola High School is not the first academic institution in the province to close during the health crisis. In Montreal, the epicentre of the virus’ outbreak in Canada, Herzliah High School shuttered last month due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
The province has also tightened the restrictions for high schools in designated coronavirus red zones, such as Montreal and Quebec City. Students in those areas are required to wear masks in the classroom and on school grounds until at least Oct. 28, when the partial lockdown could be lifted.
Quebec has reported coronavirus cases in 1,009 schools across the province since the beginning of the school year. As of last week, 781 schools had reported active cases.
— With files from Global News’ Phil Carpenter