An internal school memo about a community case of COVID-19 that was leaked online caused panic among parents and others early this week.
The written information came from administrators at AD Rundle middle and McCammon elementary schools sometime over the weekend, and was swirling around the internet by the time schools were open Monday morning.
The memo, written mostly similarly by each school and addressed “Hey everyone,” stated that “a member linked to our school community has tested positive for COVID-19.”
It did not mention if the person had been inside the school, or on school grounds, nor did it mention if the connection was via a student, staff, or visitor. It did advise that if anyone was considered a close contact, the next call would be coming from Fraser Health.
School district staff has confirmed with The Progress that it is not Chilliwack School District policy to directly inform the public of potential COVID-19 exposures. Their website refers to the guidelines for communications as set out by the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education.
All communication is supposed to be made via a community’s health authority, which in Chilliwack’s case is Fraser Health.
As of Tuesday morning, there have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 within any Chilliwack schools. District staff has also confirmed that they will be using the Fraser Health’s School Exposure website to share out any information about exposures.
All of the school district’s COVID-19 policies and information is listed on a special page on their website, and also includes links to restart plans for the entire province, and links to the BC Centre for Disease for Control. The information on the district page runs the gamut from workplace safety, to how parents should be screening their children every day for symptoms.
The Province lists the following protocol in the actual event of a confirmed case in a school:
If a student or staff member is confirmed to have COVID-19, and were potentially infectious while they were at school:
• Public health will perform an investigation to determine if there were any potential close contacts within the school.
• Students and staff who have interacted with the confirmed case may be asked to stay home while public health completes their investigation.
• If it is determined that there are close contacts within the school, public health will notify the school administrators to request class and bus lists to assist with contact tracing and provide guidance on whatsteps should be taken.
• Public health may then:
• Recommend 14-day isolation if necessary (for confirmed close contacts).
• Recommend monitoring for symptoms if necessary.
• Provide follow-up recommendations if necessary.
• Schools must continue to provide learning support to students required to self-isolate.
• Together, schools/school districts and public health officials will determine if any other actions arenecessary.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.