Parents bracing for possible outbreak at schools in September after child tests positive at Toronto camp
TORONTO -- News that a child has tested positive for COVID-19 at one of the city’s CampTO summer camp locations has left parents bracing for possible outbreaks when school starts in September.
“I don’t know how confident I am that school will go well,” said Dylan Leister, whose seven and nine-year-old sons attend the camp.
City officials say the camper, who attended a program at the Barbara Frum Community Centre, was sent home with symptoms last week and has been self-isolating since then.
The camp at Barbara Frum has been shut down along with the one at Glen Long Community centre where a small group of children from Barbara Frum also attended camp.
“We can confirm that the city has not received any additional reports today of campers, their families or staff with COVID-19 symptoms,” said a spokesperson in an email to CTV News Toronto on Thursday afternoon.
The city said both locations will be deep cleaned before reopening Monday.
“It’s not surprising at all. It’s just the same as potentially as what may happen in school in September,” said Dr. Anna Banerji, a paediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto.
To help prevent spread of the virus, Banerji encourages children to wear masks at school, including younger students if they feel comfortable.
On Thursday, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that school boards can access $500 million in reserve funds to help with the return to school during the pandemic.
Banerji says she hopes the new access to funds will allow for more creative uses of spaces to keep children distanced, like auditoriums, community centres and stadiums.
She also recommends that parents perform symptoms checks on their children before school.
“If they have fever, body ache, runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting diarrhea, rashes anything, shortness of breath, anything, they need to keep their kids at home,” she said.
Despite the positive case at the camp, some parents with kids in the program believe the experience could better prepare children for a safe return to school.
“My daughter has to wear a mask at camp, she’s doing the social distancing guidelines so I think it’s really important she gets used to it now making September and school easier,” said dad Dan Carroll.
To put the positive case into perspective, Mayor John Tory said there are 4,000 children currently enrolled in the city-run camps.
With files from the Canadian Press.