New Westminster families will see a new look to COVID-19 school exposure notices starting this week.
Fraser Health has changed its communication process around notification letters to school communities – and New Westminster school district superintendent Karim Hachlaf said the move will come with some positive changes.
“The new process will enable (Fraser Health) to respond in a more timely manner when issuing notifications, and it will decrease the number of emails sent to staff and families,” Hachlaf said in a letter to families and staff on Friday afternoon.
Here’s how the new process will unfold, as outlined in the letter:
- Once it’s been confirmed that a person in the school community has COVID-19 and was in the school during their infectious period, the full school community will get a notification letter to let them know that contact tracing is occurring.
- If the case is linked to one or more classes, a self-monitor letter will be issued to the affected class(es).
- Additional self-monitor and/or self-isolation letters will be issued, as determined to be appropriate by the contact tracing process.
- No bulletins will be sent informing families that the contact tracing process has ended. Instead, Fraser Health is committing to complete its case and contact management within 48 hours of the notification being sent.
- School principals will now receive letters directly from Fraser Health, via secure FTPs, to enable faster verification of confidential student and/or staff information that may be required.
- School exposures will continue to be updated daily on Fraser Health’s school exposure website.
Families are also reminded that daily health check rules are still in place.
“To continue to help make sure we’re all doing everything we can to keep our schools as safe and healthy as possible, remember that it is the responsibility of parents, staff and other adults to ensure that daily health checks are completed each day, for each person entering a school or school district facility. And if anyone is sick, they should stay home,” Hachlaf said.
WHAT DO THE LETTERS MEAN?
If there’s a COVID-19 exposure reported at your child’s school, you can expect to receive one or more of the following types of letters.
- Notification letter: This is the general letter to the whole school community that lets people know someone there has tested positive for COVID-19 and that contact tracing is underway. Receiving this letter does not mean you or your child has been exposed or that there is an increased risk. Students and staff should continue to attend school unless public health has specifically advised otherwise.
- Self-monitor letter: This letter will be sent to classes or cohorts of the person who attended school while potentially infectious. The intent of the letter is to provide heightened awareness, beyond that of the daily health check, around monitoring for symptoms.
- Self-isolation letter: Those who are identified through contact tracing as being at higher risk due to proximity to the case, or due to the nature of the exposure, will receive a self-isolation letter.