For Immediate Release
February 8, 2021

NLTA Concerned About Impact of Recent COVID-19 Cases Confirmed in School Community

St. John’s… The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association is concerned about the potential reach of the recently confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses for two individuals at Mount Pearl Senior High school. Government’s guidance document, COVID-19 Exposure, Case, and Outbreak Management in School Setting, defines a COVID-19 outbreak as “two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 epidemiologically linked to a specific school setting and/or location.” The communication issued by Eastern Health and the NLESD late last night does not use this terminology.

“Closing the school was the right decision in the circumstances, and I am pleased to hear that testing will be available for all students and staff,” said Dean Ingram, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association. “However, we all know that students and staff do not live their lives in a school ‘bubble.’ Mount Pearl Senior High has 930 students and more than 50 staff members, all of whom have families and connections that would bring them into regular contact with others, including students and staff from other schools. The inter-connectedness of metro area school communities is a reality that must be considered in the ongoing response and decision making around this situation.”
 
The NLTA continues to have concerns regarding the public health protocols for schools and, since early July, has been questioning the inconsistency between the public health precautions that are required for community spaces and other public and private sector workplaces as compared to the lesser measures in place for schools.
 
“The Association is thinking about the entire MPSH school community and the stress and uncertainty they must be feeling. We sincerely hope that this particular situation is and stays under control and will be resolved as quickly as possible,” said President Ingram. “However, the potential scope of exposure in these circumstances cannot be denied and should motivate government and Public Health officials to rethink how it can be safe to continue with students and school staff spending extended periods of time in close quarters with little or no physical distancing and weak or no mask requirements.”
                                                                                    
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For further information contact:
Jennifer Tulk, NLTA Communications, Tel: 682-3751(cellular); jtulk@nlta.nl.ca