An entire class is self-isolating for two weeks following confirmed COVID-19 exposures at the local high school this week.
The quarantine comes following a news release Monday, Nov. 23, where School District 27 superintendent Chris van der Mark said Interior Health Authority confirmed “a member of our Lake City Secondary (WL Campus) school community has tested positive for COVID-19.”
That person is self-isolating at home with support from local public health teams.
On Wednesday, van der Mark said there are now two known “COVID-19 exposures” at the school as well as the quarantining of 26 students of a Grade 10 physical education class.
On the BC Centre for Disease Control’s website, the potential exposure at Lake City Secondary School occurred on Nov. 17, 18 and 19.
van der Mark said, as they did in this case, Interior Health follows up with anyone potentially exposed to a confirmed case directly through contact tracing.
With COVID in the community for a number of months, van der Mark said it was “just a matter of time” before a school would have an exposure to COVID.
“This is a really good reminder to double down and be vigilant,” van der Mark said. “It’s on us. Let’s do the best we can and make sure it doesn’t impact us negatively as a community.”
van der Mark said the safety and well-being of students, families and staff remains the district’s highest priority.
“Lake City secondary will continue to implement the strict health and safety protocols and procedures that are in place so children and staff can continue to attend school as safely as possible.”
van der Mark noted everyone should heed the directive of the provincial health officer to keep to your immediate family at home, limit contacts outside of your home and don’t travel outside the community if it is not necessary.
He believes being in schools poses a “significantly lower risk” than being in the community at large, noting 83 per cent of B.C.’s schools remain COVID-free.
At the School District 27 board meeting Tuesday evening van der Mark discussed COVID as part of his superintendent report citing that 27 school districts in the province remain COVID-free while 11 districts, such as SD27, have very few cases.
Currently face masks are required to be worn in common areas and hallways of schools, though the teacher’s union is pushing for a mask requirement in class. That mask policy hasn’t changed in Williams Lake, and there are no plans to close or alter how education is being delivered in SD27 schools right now.
Due to surging cases of COVID-19 in their province, the government of Alberta is shifting to an online education model for all students in grades 7 to 12.
Superintendent van der Mark is drafting a letter to students and guardians to be sent out later this week regarding the latest on the COVID situation, and said he plans to have Interior Health host a third virtual town hall meeting in the near future to answer any questions around the topic.