With the increase of COVID-19 cases locally, the School District 81 Board of Education understands the concerns of families, especially when a member of a school community (student, parent, or staff member) has tested positive. The intent of school letters recently sent to parents is to make families aware of positive test results within their school community and to reassure that the school will continue to closely follow provincial safety guidelines, protocols, and procedures that are in place.
The School District would also like to clarify the matter of the local Independent school closing to go on remote learning while the in-town Public schools have not. If there is a confirmed case, cluster, or outbreak of COVID-19 in any BC Public school, the Regional Health Authority’s School Medical Health Officer leads the response, not the local School District. School Districts work with their local School Medical Health Officer to support tracing and additional efforts in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school community.
To date, School District 81 has not had a Covid-19 outbreak but has experienced several “exposure incidents.” These exposures have not been clusters or outbreaks, and we continue to follow the Public Health Safety Guidelines for Schools that have been in place since September. No additional measures or changes have been requested or directed by Northern Health.
Northern Health communicates directly with individuals or families when their contact tracing indicates a need for further instructions for self-isolating and testing. When a case of COVID-19 is confirmed, all household members are requested to self-isolate. Due to privacy laws protecting personal privacy rights, Northern Health will not disclose the individuals, family members, classrooms, or cohorts unless it determines that there may have been close contact with a carrier. The School District is also unable to provide this information.
This is a very difficult time for our families, staff, and community members, and we thank you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation. It is important to follow public health advice and orders on gatherings, closely self-monitoring for symptoms, do the daily health checks before going to school or work, and seek testing if symptoms develop. Please be assured that the School District continues to work closely with Northern Health and will communicate any information as it becomes available.
The Board of Education,
School District No. 81, Fort Nelson.