MONTREAL -- The possible presence of the British variant in declared cases of COVID-19 at College Stanislas in Montreal has led the management of the establishment to close its doors and impose distance education on all its elementary and secondary students for at least a week.

The private school's management issued a news release Wednesday evening that was also posted on the school's website. It specifies that these are preventive measures "to prevent new cases from occurring, but also to reassure parents, students and College staff."

On Wednesday, Montreal director of public health Dr. Mylene Drouin acknowledged that there were 44 potential cases of variants in the metropolis, including a suspected case in this school in the Outremont borough, possibly associated with the British (B.1.1.7) variant.

Drouin said at a news conference that the outbreak at College Stanislas involved at least 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In its release, the Stanislas College of Montreal says it is working very closely with Montreal public health officials (DRSP) following the COVID-19 outbreak in one of its elementary classes.

"Although we have no epidemiological concerns, we have made the decision to extend distance education to our high school students," said College director general Thomas Saene.

"Knowing that many high school students have brothers or sisters enrolled in elementary school, we are very sensitive to the situation in which many parents find themselves. We are convinced that the decision we take is the most respectful and responsible," said Saene.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2021.