OHS Canada Magazine

Teachers refuse to work after 11 COVID-19 cases reported at Toronto school

Public health department isn't recommending further measures


Glamorgan Junior Public School is located in Scarborough, Ont. (Instant Street View)

By Denise Paglinawan

TORONTO — Several teachers and support staff at an elementary school in Toronto’s east end refused to go to work on Monday after 11 COVID-19 cases were reported at the facility, the Toronto District School Board said.

The board said it brought in three vice-principals from nearby schools to help with supervision at the Glamorgan Junior Public School.

Nine staff members and two students at the school have tested positive for COVID-19, it said.

Board spokesman Ryan Bird said a number of teachers and support staff refused to enter the school on Monday morning.

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“We appreciate that COVID-19 is a concern for them and everyone in the school community right now, however, all health and safety precautions are being taken,” he said.

School remains open

The city’s public health department isn’t recommending further measures at the school, he said.

One wing at the school has been closed due to the COVID-19 cases, but the school remains open, the president of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto said. Jennifer Brown said the school should be closed.

“They don’t feel safe,” Brown said of the teachers who refused to go to work. “Nobody comes to work looking to get sick, knowing that there’s an illness there.”

The Ministry of Labour said it is conducting an investigation at the school.

“Workers believe their workplace is lacking precautions to protect them from COVID-19,” it said in a statement.

Ontario reported 71 new COVID-19 cases related to schools on Monday, including at least 41 among students.

Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 558 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.