Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing taking place at eight Toronto schools
TORONTO -- Eight schools within the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) have completed or will undergo targeted testing for COVID-19.
On Monday, the school board initially announced four school would get the testing. That list included: Valley Park Middle School, where testing was expected to be completed Monday; Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, where tests are being conducted Dec. 10, 11 and 14; Lester B Collegiate Institute, where tests were being conducted Monday and Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute, which was expected to be completed Monday at Sunnybrook Hospital and Women’s College Hospital.
On Tuesday, the TDSB updated the list of schools to receive the testing and stated that students from Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy will receive the testing off site through Dec. 9 to 12. The school remains closed. Swansea Junior and Senior school will also have testing done Dec. 8 and 9. Wandering Spirit School will have it conducted Dec. 8, 15 and 16.
Spokesperson Ryan Bird said more than 200 tests have been conducted at Valley Park Middle School, and the initial batch came back negative.
“There was actually a case in my class and then they called us to do the test again,” said Grade 8 Valley Park Middle School student Wajeeha Faysao outside a testing centre in Thorncliffe Park Monday afternoon. “The COVID-19 in Thorncliffe, it’s really serious and we need to be careful.”
Last month, the testing of asymptomatic students and staff at Thorncliffe Park Public School resulted in the identification of several cases of COVID-19. The school was closed last week as a result.
The TDSB said there is no specific number of cases for a threshold which leads to a school closure.
[Toronto Public Health] looks at each individual circumstance at schools and looks at a number of factors including whether there is transmission within a school.
People living in the Thorncliffe Park community without children told CTV News Toronto they are relived to see testing at schools ramping up.
“The spread is quite scary for us as well. We don’t have kids at home, but I’m sure kids will be from our building, or the same floor,” Moiz Virani said.
“There is fear on the back of the mind always, that some kids moving around here and there might have some symptoms which might affect us as well.”
“It’s a hot spot here so we are all aware of cases ... so it’s a step in the direction,” said Samir Motiani.
“It was really stressful,” Khushu Virani. “It’s good they are taking some measures.”
Six-year-old Rayyan Khan has been tested for COVID-19 four times and lined up again Monday to be checked.
“My classroom has COVID, somebody got COVID, we’re doing online,’ said the Grade 1 student at Thorncliffe Park Public School which has been closed.
But for single mom of two, Rowena Deporres, the problem is her daughter’s now-closed child-care centre inside Thorncliffe Park Public School. It means she can’t go to work.
“No work, no pay,” said Deporres. “If I didn’t work, I don’t have anything, I don’t earn, you don’t pay the apartment.”