Published Thursday, December 3, 2020 10:34AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 3, 2020 11:20AM EST
On Sunday, it was revealed that asymptomatic testing at Thorncliffe Park Public School resulted in 18 students and one staff member testing positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
In a letter sent to parents on Sunday, the principal of the school said Toronto Public Health detected the cases after 433 tests were processed on Thursday and Friday.
While the school remains open, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) says there are currently 384 students and 27 teachers from a combined 18 classes that are self-isolating at home.
TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said three out of the 30 staff members that are currently working at the school have now “begun the work refusal process.”
He said their classes are being covered by other staff and the board is working with the Ministry of Labour and the teachers to address their concerns.
Jennifer Brown, the president of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT), said the teachers who walked off the job “don’t feel safe” in the school.
“They don't necessarily have the answers from Toronto Public Health regarding why the school is still open,” she said on Thursday.
“What is really problematic is that there is no standard of what… is the threshold that closes a school.”
Brown said Toronto Public Health has also not been transparent about the contact tracing that has been conducted.
“What is not clear to us is the fact that there are no standards or contact tracing information shared with us from Toronto Public Health so teachers don't know necessarily how they can determine it is a community-based issue versus a school-based issue,” she said.
Bird said the school board "appreciates the concern" teachers have but noted that it takes direction from Toronto Public Health.
"We take our lead from Toronto Public Health. If we felt that it was unsafe or something else, we would be taking further action," he said.