Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) has reported positive COVID-19 tests for one student at each of the following institutions: Kettle Creek Public School, in Port Stanley; Summers Corners Public School, Davenport Public School and East Elgin Secondary School, in Aylmer; June Rose Callwood Public School, Mitch Hepburn Public School and Parkside Collegiate Institute, in St. Thomas; and Eva Circe Cote French Immersion Public School, in Sparta.

“Thames Valley wishes to assure the community that all staff, parents and guardians of affected school communities were immediately notified,” according to a TVDSB statement online. To date, TVDSB has recorded 43 active and 90 resolved cases of positive COVID-19 testing. “Health units investigate cases to identify close contacts and follow up directly to provide specific testing advice.”

The positive COVID-19 tests at local schools follow Premier Doug Ford’s announcement on Monday, ordering a provincial shutdown to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and take pressure off the health care system.

The shutdown – including Elgin County, Oxford County and the City of St. Thomas – is effective December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. The resulting restrictions are expected to last for at least 28 days.

The Province also extended Christmas holidays for elementary and secondary students, and all students will now participate in full remote learning from January 4 to 8, 2020. Elementary school in-person classes will resume on January 11, 2020. Secondary school in-person classes will resume on January 25, 2020.

On Wednesday, Southwestern Public Health reported a record single-day high of more than 45 cases.

“While the provincial shutdown officially starts on December 26, I urge everyone to limit their contact with others effective immediately,” said Dr. Joyce Lock Medical Office of Health. “We have cases in every community and in people of every age.

“Transmission happens at social events, in workplaces, through travel, and within institutions,” added Dr. Lock. “What is most worrisome is that we have many cases we cannot trace to a source. This evidence of community spread means urgent action is required from each of us.”

Southwestern Public Health provides frequent updates on COVID-19 in our community.