City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health working to support the province's safe reopening of schools

The City of Toronto continues to respond to COVID-19. Today, Mayor John Tory and Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa provided an update on the City’s measures to combat the virus and the Province of Ontario’s announcement that Toronto students will return to in-person learning on February 16.

Since the start of the pandemic there have now been a total of 87,969 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 444 new cases today. There are 352 people hospitalized. To date, there have been 2,430 COVID-19 deaths in Toronto. Toronto Public Health continues to migrate to the provincial information system for case and contact management, the central repository for COVID-19 data in Ontario. Data reporting has been affected as a result of the ongoing migration and impacts to reporting may continue in the coming days. The project is expected to be completed by next week with a corresponding return to full reporting. Case status data can be found on the City’s reporting platform: www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/covid-19-status-of-cases-in-toronto/.

The Province announced today that Toronto students will return to in-person learning in two weeks, on Tuesday, February 16. Dr. de Villa explained the supports Toronto Public Health provides to schools, students, staff and families. Toronto Public Health as increased their school response team to almost 200 staff. Daily screenings of staff and students will be carried out and anyone – staff or student – with even a mild symptom cannot attend school and should go for testing. Enhanced screening questions have been introduced. If someone in a school develops COVID-19, investigators will do an assessment to determine where the person might have gotten the infection and to whom they could have spread it. School principals and vice-principals will continue to have weekly webinars with Toronto Public Health to get the most up-to-date information.

Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Guidance: Elementary & Secondary Schools was revised on January 26 to reflect enhanced protections: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-reopening-recovery-rebuild/covid-19-reopening-guidelines-for-businesses-organizations/covid-19-guidance-elementary-secondary-schools/. The protocols for schools are based around mask use by all, active symptom screening, distancing, cohorting, ventilation, cleaning surfaces and hand hygiene. One update is that masking is now required outdoors, where physical distancing cannot be maintained. The guidance is comprehensive and represents the care and attention that is being applied to school operations.

It remains imperative that all people in the city respect COVID-19 orders and stay home as much as possible to save lives by reducing opportunities for COVID-19 to spread. Please review the City’s simple “Dos” and “Don’ts” guide for recommended and mandatory public health measures. The guide communicates some of what is and what is not, permitted under the provincial Lockdown Regulation that remains in effect and the new stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The guide can be found at www.toronto.ca/lockdownguide.

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