By Charlie Senack, Manotick Messenger
More than a week after March Break, a number of local schools are continuing to report high absentee rates.
While school boards no longer report how many active cases of COVID-19 are reported among staff and students in their buildings, the Ontario government still releases daily absentee rates.
Reasons for staff and students not being in class don’t necessarily mean a COVID-19 diagnosis, and could be related to other reasons such as vacation, appointments, religious holiday, or another illness.
Here is a look at the absentee rates at local schools as of March 30:
- Castor Valley Elementary School: 10.9 per cent
- Greely Elementary School: 15.5 per cent
- Manotick Public School: 10.4 per cent
- St. Leonard Elementary School: 16.8 per cent
- St. Mark High School: 13.5 per cent
- St. Mark Intermediate School: 9.8 per cent
- Richmond Public School: 19.7 per cent
- South Carleton High School: 15.7 per cent
- St. Philip Elementary School: 14.9 per cent
- Osgoode Public School: 13 per cent
- St. Francis Xavier High School: 12.2 per cent
- École élémentaire publique Michel-Dupuis: 11.4 per cent
- Elementary School Catholic Jonathan-Pitre: 10.5 per cent
- St. Jerome Elementary School: 10 per cent
- Steve MacLean Public School: 13 per cent
- École élémentaire catholique Bernard-Grandmaître: 8.4 per cent
A few local schools did not report any data. The information provided combines both student and staff absentee rates.
Cases of COVID-19 are continuing to rise in schools, and Ottawa Public Health says that is to be expected as cases in the community also climb. When most COVID-19 restrictions including mask mandates were lifted, experts said we would see a jump in viral spread. A sixth wave has been declared and wastewater samples now show more COVID-19 in Ottawa than ever before.
The public health unit is encouraging everyone to continue to wear mask wearing, and local School boards say it’s currently about 50/50.
Good news is hospitalizations remain stable for now, but that can often be seen as a lagging indicator. Depending where trends head, some restrictions could make a comeback.
“Ottawa Public Health has informed the office of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health of the concerning levels of COVID-19 in Ottawa and the province is carefully monitoring the impact on health system capacity,” said Ottawa’s top Doctor Vera Etches. “Ottawa Public Health is also reaching out directly to people over 50 who could benefit from another vaccine dose.”