Toronto Public Health says it has recommended the closing of 22 schools across the city starting on Tuesday due to COVID-19 investigations.
The list includes 11 Toronto District School Board schools, nine Toronto Catholic District School Board schools, one French school and one independent school.
The closures will allow public health officials more time to investigate COVID-19 cases.
The TDSB and TCDSB said in tweets on Monday they are dismissing the schools following advice from TPH. Students at the schools in the two boards will shift to remote learning. It is not known if students at the French and independent schools will do so.
No dates have been given for any of the schools to reopen.
“We will keep the school communities informed as soon as the reopening dates are confirmed,” TPH said in a tweet.
“In the meantime, we remind all residents of the importance of keeping your distance, wearing your mask & washing your hands to help protect yourself & others.”
The TDSB list includes three high schools, two middle schools and six other elementary schools.
The TCDSB list includes two high schools and seven elementary schools.
According to TPH, the other two schools to close are George Etienne Cartier Catholic Elementary School, run by the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir, and Abu Bakr Education Academy, an Islamic elementary school run independently.
Schools close when there are safety concerns, TPH says
Dr. Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health for TPH, said in an email on Monday night that the decision to close a school is based on safety concerns.
“Each COVID-19 case in a school requires a careful investigation to determine the potential risk to other individuals in that setting, and based on the findings of the investigation, decisions are then made on how best to protect the staff and students in the school, including dismissing some cohorts or all cohorts,” Dubey said.
“TPH continues to work closely with the school boards and will keep the school informed as soon as the reopening date is confirmed.”
Dubey added: “COVID-19 spreads through close contact with someone who is infected with the virus, and not from specific locations. Since COVID-19, including variants of concern, are circulating in the community, cases related to community transmission are expected.”