Montreal private school grapples with major COVID-19 outbreak

Académie Michèle-Provost, a private school in Montreal, had to close four of its elementary classrooms following an outbreak of COVID-19 cases, the source of which is an unvaccinated hockey coach, according to the management of establishment.

The duty has obtained a copy of a written communication sent Friday to the parents of this mixed private school by its president and director general, Franco Baschiera. The latter indicates that a “young hockey coach”, who works for a minor league which is not affiliated with this establishment, would have contaminated “young players”, among whom there is a pupil in 5th year from primary to l origin of the outbreak at the Michèle-Provost Academy, located on avenue des Pins.

“Obviously, our young first patient was infected as well. And simply continued the chain of contamination through his classroom and the playground, ”indicates the email sent to parents. Mr. Baschiera also specifies that the hockey coach in question would not be vaccinated against COVID-19, information that The duty was not able to confirm on Saturday, the Regional Public Health Directorate of Montreal refusing to reveal the details surrounding the outbreaks it records in schools.

“It contaminated our student, but surely contaminated others who go to other schools”, deplores Mr. Baschiera, when joined by The duty Saturday.

“We are experiencing something extreme”

A first positive case for COVID-19 was declared in this school on the Friday preceding Thanksgiving. Subsequently, several positive cases were confirmed during this long weekend, relates the general manager on the phone. Four classes at the elementary level then had to be closed during this week for a period of 10 days, while 12 students at the establishment were infected with COVID-19 as a result of this outbreak, as of Friday. Since these are elementary school students, they are not vaccinated against COVID-19, specifies Franco Baschiera on the phone.

“We are experiencing something extreme”, loose the director general, for whom this outbreak of COVID-19 cases represents the most important in this school establishment since the start of the pandemic. The other outbreaks that have occurred since March 2020 have only affected a few students each time, he says.

“It’s a shame when we put in a lot of effort and in addition it is not our fault and that it puts four classes in distance school”, continues Mr. Baschiera.

In order to minimize the risk of contagion, the establishment has been forcing its students to keep their masks in the playground for a few days, as they do in class. A measure that could remain in place until elementary school students have had the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19, foresees the director general, who wants to limit as much as possible the risk of a new outbreak of the kind occurs again.

Only elementary school students were affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 cases in this establishment on Avenue des Pins, which welcomes young people from preschool to high school.

With Stéphanie Vallet

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