John Knox Christian School's secondary school campus in New Westminster has seen its first COVID-19 exposure of the school year – and that exposure has been found to be a variant of concern.
The school exposure, which was listed on the Fraser Health website April 7, occurred on March 30, 31 and April 1.
An April 6 letter to families from Fraser Health says the case has been confirmed as a variant of concern, though it does not specify which variant. It says public health officials are currently conducting their risk assessment and will be directly contacting anyone who is found to be a close contact of the person with COVID. Instructions to self-monitor or self-isolate will be given accordingly, as per standard protocol in school cases.
The letter notes the person involved has been isolated so there is no risk of continuing exposure.
It's the second exposure reported at a New Westminster school this week. The first was at New Westminster Secondary School, where the latest exposure occurred March 29, 30, 31 and April 1. (That was not a variant case.)
What B.C.’s rising case numbers – and, in particular, rising numbers of variant cases – mean for the province’s school system has been a question repeatedly posed to provincial health officials, particularly in the wake of just-announced school closures in Ontario.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, at her regular briefing on Tuesday (April 6), was asked whether school closures were in the cards.
“Of course we’ve talked about that,” she said, noting health officials have been in touch with the Ministry of Education, with school district superintendents, and with principals and teachers. “What we have also learned is we see cases go up when children are not in school, and that is often because they have other, unstructured time.”
And she reiterated a message the province has been sending throughout the pandemic: “Children need school.”