New Westminster Secondary School was hit by another COVID-19 exposure in the first week back from March break.
Someone with COVID-19 was at the school on all four school days last week (March 29, 30, 31 and April 1).
Families received notice of the exposure on April 5, and it was posted on the Fraser Health school exposures site on April 6.
As with all school exposures, public health officials conduct contact tracing, and any staff or students who were deemed to have been in close contact with the case will be contacted directly. Some people may be asked to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 or, in rarer cases, to self-isolate.
The exposures come amidst rising case numbers in B.C., and in particular in the Fraser Health region (the area from Burnaby to Boston Bar, which includes New Westminster). Also on the rise are the numbers of variants of concern, as the P1 (Brazilian) variant in particular has been increasing rapidly.
The New Westminster school district, along with all school districts around the province, has issued new mask guidelines for local schools. According to the new provincial guidelines, all students in grades 4 through 12 are expected to wear a mask when inside a school building. Students in kindergarten through Grade 3 are “encouraged” to wear masks.
Exemptions are made for those who cannot put on or remove a mask without assistance or for those who cannot tolerate it (for health or behavioural reasons).
A letter to families from superintendent Karim Hachlaf notes the school district is also encouraging staff to take advantage of the nicer weather and consider having more lessons and extra break times outdoors to give students a break from mask wearing throughout the day.