After more than 20 COVID-19 cases were discovered at a private school in Barrie, the school and a surrounding church were closed.
Last week, 25 cases were confirmed at Heritage Christian Academy, according to Pastor Brett Pennell of CTV News Barrie. There are approximately 110 students enrolled in the school.
It’s unclear which COVID-19 mutations are causing the infections.
“As soon as we got word of any cases, we moved the school to online,” Pennell, the school’s principal, said on Friday. “We sent everybody home that day, just immediately switched to online learning to try to limit spread as much as possible.”
Out of an abundance of caution, Pennell said the Heritage Baptist Church was also closed due to its close proximity to the school.
Pennell is also the church’s senior pastor.
An outbreak has not been declared at the church but services have been temporarily moved online.
Pennell said there is the possibility of cross-contamination as many individuals at the school are also members of the congregation.
He added that the Simcoe Muskoka health unit did not instruct the facilities to close but that he and officials took a proactive approach to reduce the spread of the virus.
“We made these determinations ourselves for the best interests for the health and well-being of the church community,” he said.
On Friday, Simcoe Muskoka reported 117 new COVID-19 cases and 32 active outbreaks across the region, including 25 schools.