There are now more than 300 known active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario schools, as the Ministry of Education resumes daily reporting for the first time since students returned to the classroom last week.

Data released by the ministry late on Tuesday afternoon confirmed that there are 328 school-related cases, though eight of those cases were detected more than 14 days ago and are no longer considered active.

Of the cases, 256 of them involve students while 51 involve staff members and the remaining 17 involved individuals who have not been identified.

The ministry says that a total of 218 schools have at least one confirmed case, accounting for 4.5 per cent of all schools.

Earlier in the day school boards across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area reported 109 active cases of COVID-19, up from 74 one day earlier.

The Toronto District School Board reported 25 cases impacting 24 different schools.

The next highest total in the GTHA was in Peel, where the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board said there were now 16 confirmed or probable active cases of COVID-19 in its schools.

And in Hamilton, the Catholic school board reported 11 cases, requiring the dismissal of 13 classrooms to self isolate at home.

At this point in the 2020 school year, several large school boards including Toronto and Peel’s public schools were not yet underway.

There were a total of 29 active cases of COVID-19 among staff and students at this time last year.

As a share of the province’s overall known caseload of COVID-19 on Tuesday, cases tied to schools represented approximately 4.6 per cent.

The spread of COVID-19 among students is starting to affect French language school boards significantly, as many of them began their school year earlier than the English boards.

In Ottawa and eastern Ontario, the local French Catholic board reported 24 active cases of COVID-19, requiring the dismissal of 33 classrooms.

Other school boards in the province are aggressively dismissing classes and cohorts in a bid to stop the spread of infection in schools.

In Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, there are 13 active cases among students and staff, requiring the dismissal of 16 classes.

In the Upper Grand District School Board covering Guelph and Wellington County, 14 cases have resulted in 11 classes being sent home to self-isolate.

Speaking to CP24 on Tuesday, UHN infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said COVID-19 cases popping up in schools should not surprise anyone, especially since case counts have risen significantly since July.

“We know that this is being brought into the schools, but to what extent is COVID-19 being transmitted in the schools,” he said.