A fourth COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Hope Secondary School, three days after a third exposure at the same school.
This exposure is the fifth in the Fraser Cascade School District (SD78), with all but one exposures having taken place at Hope Secondary. The exposure was documented in a letter from superintendent Balan Moorthy circulated online, which outlined the steps public health and the school district are taking while maintaining the privacy of the individual concerned.
An exposure is defined by Fraser Health as a “single person with [a] lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection who attended school during their infectious period.” Hope Secondary school has had exposures on Oct. 30, Nov. 11 to 13, Nov. 24 and Nov. 27. Another exposure occured at Agassiz Elementary Secondary School on Nov. 4, 5 and 6.
Despite these incidents, Moorthy reiterated that schools are a safe place for children to be. Of the exposures so far, no transmissions have happened to others in the schools.
“We probably have the lowest rates of COVID in the entire the Lower Mainland right now. Not just the Lower Mainland, but even the entire Fraser Valley and probably moving up in the Interior,” Moorthy said. So far, none of the district’s elementary schools or Boston Bar Elementary Secondary School have been affected.
While specific cases cannot be discussed due to the need to maintain confidentiality and privacy, Moorthy stated that the first two exposures occured when students went to events or activities outside of their schools.
When a student or teacher is confirmed positive, the health authority begins contact tracing to find out how they person was infected and who they were in close contact with. Close contacts who may be at increased risk are notified and advised to self-isolate or self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for two weeks.
People in the same learning cohort, friends or other contacts may be determined by public health not to be close contacts. And for families who receive notifications of exposures at their school, Fraser Health advises that this does not mean their child has been exposed to COVID-19. “If you do not receive a phone call or letter from Public Health, your child should continue to attend school,” Fraser Health stated, adding that families can monitor their child for symptoms using a self-assessment tool found at bc.thrive.health.
“We have very few cases, our schools have done an exceptional job, their principals have done exceptional jobs providing safe places for kids, and we continue to maintain that the best place that kids can be right now is in school,” Moorthy said. He is, however, worried about the loss of learning and the emotional health of children. A total of 176 students across the school district are still not learning in-class.
Moorthy said that any parents with concerns should contact him. The school district office can be reached at 604-869-2411.
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