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August 17, 2020 The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 infecting a student at St. Clair College.

Several hundred students have been attending the College during the Spring and Summer to complete their 2019-20 studies in limited-attendance labs, workshops and clinics. The limited re-opening of the College occurred as part of a pilot project authorized by the provincial Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

As St. Clair prepared to welcome that sparse seasonal enrolment, the College also implemented an extensive COVID-19 pandemic plan in consultation with the local Public Health authorities. The Reopening Plan has numerous protocols and practices, enforces physical distancing, mask wearing, and restricted group gathering; and provided personal protective devices for both students and staff in many of the labs, clinics and workshops.

The plan also requires students and staff to fill out an on-line questionnaire every day in order to obtain access to campuses. The questionnaire asks about possible contact with COVID carriers and viral settings, and if the person filling out the on-line form is suffering from any of the virus’s multitude of symptoms. Based on the responses to the questionnaire, applicants – both students and staff – are either granted or denied permission to attend a College campus on a given day.

The strong public health measures in St. Clair’s pandemic plan led the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit to determine the transmission risk associated with this single case as “low."

The classmates of the individual have been advised to self-monitor for 14 days and are able to continue their in-person attendance at school during this time adhering to existing public health measures.

“On behalf of the entire St. Clair community of students and staff, I wish a speedy and thorough recovery to the student affected,” said St. Clair President Patti France. “The larger lesson we’re taking from this is that our pandemic plan and all of its related procedures have been put in place for a very good reason, demanding conscientious recognition and adherence by students and staff. Our collective well-being is dependent upon individual behaviour, so we each have an essential role to play to protect ourselves, our classmates and our colleagues.”

France added, “As we have since the onset of the pandemic in March, St. Clair, of course, will abide by all of the suggestions and directives provided by the Health Unit – both in terms of individual cases, and to enhance our comprehensive pandemic plan.”

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health for Windsor-Essex County, would like to take this opportunity to further emphasize the importance of public health measures and having strong plans in place to prevent COVID-19 transmission as students return to school.

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