Collège Louis-Riel sending students home after 4 COVID-19 cases confirmed at Winnipeg school

Winnipeg’s Collège Louis-Riel is sending all of its students home for at least a week after four new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at the school. 

Students at the St. Boniface-area school will be sent home for remote learning until Friday, Nov. 6, and will be able to return on Nov. 9, says a letter sent home to parents by the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine.

“We understand that this is an unexpected inconvenience, but know that this decision is made in the best interests of students, school staff and community health,” said division superintendent Alain Laberge. 

He also encouraged the school’s community to limit their close contacts outside their household “so that together, we can work to ensure a return to school as soon as possible.”

In an interview conducted in French and translated into English, Laberge said the decision was made after consulting with public health and the department of education over concerns about the virus potentially spreading in the school. 

The province’s pandemic response system lists a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school on Oct. 21 and 22 as being a possible source of public exposure. It says all close contacts have received a letter advising them to self-isolate.

“We felt we were on a trajectory toward a certain transmission that could become more complex,” Laberge said. 

“We’ve had a few cases in a week, and we’re a bit surprised. We were asking questions, is our school at risk?”

Laberge said he understands this puts parents in a difficult position, but that the division has an obligation to protect its students and staff. 

The only school in the province that is currently listed as restricted, or having an active outbreak, on the province’s website is Bird’s Hill School, after an outbreak was declared there last week. 

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