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New Westminster Secondary families get seventh COVID-19 exposure notice

An early notification letter was sent to families on Nov. 28 about an exposure in the school on Nov. 19 and 20
New Westminster Secondary School families have received seven COVID-19 notifications so far this year. Photograph By RECORD FILES

New Westminster Secondary School has issued its seventh COVID-19 exposure notice of the year.

Families received an email from the school, with an early notification letter from Fraser Health, on Saturday. The letter alerts families to the fact that someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 was in the school on Nov. 19 and 20.

“Receiving this letter does not mean you have been exposed to COVID-19. Case(s) have been isolated, and there is no direct exposure risk at this time,” reads the standard letter from health officials.

As with all such letters, the document informs families that public health has initiated contact tracing to determine who may need to take further action. Anyone who may need to self-monitor for symptoms will receive a letter from health officials, while anyone who has been identified as needing to self-isolate will receive a phone call from public health.

 The New Westminster school district has not issued any self-isolation letters so far this school year.

At her regular media briefing on Friday (Nov. 27), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry noted that exposures in schools are not necessarily linked to the need to self-isolate.

“It depends on how long, what activities people were doing, how many days they were in, how many people, the age of the people they were next to – those are all challenging things, and there are individual investigations of each case,” she said.

 “In the Fraser Health region, we’ve been behind on some of those, but we’ve not seen a lot of transmission, particularly child-to-child transmission. We’ve seen some adult-to-adult transmission in the school settings, and we’ve seen some cases, a couple of outbreaks and a couple of cases where classes or cohorts have had to be sent home to self-isolate.”

But she said those cases have been a “relatively small percentage” given the number of people in the school system.

The latest NWSS exposure letter comes in a week when a group of B.C. parent advocates has launched a B.C. Student Sickout event to raise awareness of their concerns over how the virus is being handled in schools. They’ve set up a Facebook group and are rallying to have parents keep their kids home on Tuesday (Dec. 1) in protest.

The parents are advocating for maximum class sizes of 15 students and more inclusive online learning options for those families who want to keep their children out of school.