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Instructors teaching at multiple schools create unnecessary COVID-19 risk, say health experts

Last Updated Oct 6, 2020 at 9:06 am EDT

Students, parents, and teachers participate in an outdoor learning demonstration to display methods schools can use to continue on-site education during the coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, at P.S. 15 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Health experts are warning that instructors who teach at multiple schools are creating unnecessary COVID-19 risks.

Concerns around the use of these teachers rise after the Toronto Catholic District School Board announced a music teacher assigned to five schools tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the board to close one of the schools for the week.

An infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Toronto told the CBC it seems obvious that stopping itinerant teachers from travelling between multiple locations is one of the surest ways to prevent the spread of the virus.

When asked about these teachers Monday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce blamed the teachers unions and the issue of prep time.

“If we had that flexibility built in, we could bundle the prep time, we could start it earlier, at the end of the day, thus relieving the home room teacher to take their prep time. This could have been avoided,” Lecce said.

As fallout surrounding the second school closure in the city continues, the first school forced to close, Mason Road Junior Public School in Scarborough re-opens Tuesday morning following a COVID-19 outbreak.

Toronto Public Health said it wrapped up its investigation at the school over the weekend.

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