A Surrey high school is notifying parents and guardians of a staggering number of recent coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
On Monday, Jan. 4, CUPE K-12 School Support BC shared a notification letter to parents in a Tweet, captioning, "Please, everyone, exercise caution, act responsibly and out of caring and compassion for others around you, including the @CUPE728 and @BCTF who are putting their health in your hands each day."
In the letter, Superintendent Jordan Tinney writes that a total of 50 students from five different classes tested positive for COVID-19 at Earl Marriott Secondary School. He adds that the affected classes shared "common areas and structures" and that they were "identified and put into self-isolation."
Fraser Health does not believe that transmission occurred "beyond this core group."
As a result of the surge in cases, Tinney adds that Surrey Schools will be implementing further health and safety measures.
While students are not required to wear face masks in class, Tinney asks parents to consider "having a conversation with your child about wearing a mask as part of developing a culture of mask-wearing across our school."
Thank you for your continued leadership on this serious issue, @jordantinney. Please, everyone, exercise caution, act responsibly and out of caring and compassion for others around you, including the @CUPE728 and @BCTF who are putting their health in your hands each day 1/2 pic.twitter.com/PAFO6i3ofU— CUPE K-12 School Support BC (@cupek12bc) January 4, 2021
'We are not safe': Surrey teachers appeal to Dr. Bonnie Henry for stronger COVID-19 school protocol
In December, the Surrey Teachers Association wrote an open letter to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that called for stronger coronavirus (COVID-19) safety protocol in schools.
The letter noted that over 6,000 teachers are employed in the Surrey School District, which is also the largest in B.C. With over 75,000 students in K-12 in 130 schools, some are so "severely crowded that there are as many as 20 portables on the fields or parking lots."
The letter adds that masks should be mandated for everyone in schools--not only teachers and adults. Further, classrooms should be reduced in size by 50 per cent to ensure safe physical distance.
COVID-19 school notification process:
If a student or teacher receives a confirmed positive COVID-19 test result, Public Health follows a rigorous protocol:
- Contact tracing is initiated to determine how the individual was infected and who they were in close contact with.
- We identify and notify close contacts who may be at an increased risk, and advise them to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
- Only Public Health can determine who is a close contact. Learning groups, friends or other connections may not be determined to be a close contact.
- Public Health staff works closely with the school and school district throughout the case and contact management process to maintain close communication with the school community.