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Coronavirus case identified at West Vancouver elementary school

Individual who tested positive was at Irwin Park Elementary last week
irwin park
An individual at West Vancouver’s Irwin Park Elementary has tested positive for coronavirus, school and health officials have confirmed. file photo North Shore News

An individual at West Vancouver’s Irwin Park Elementary has tested positive for coronavirus, school and health officials have confirmed.

So far there is no information about whether the person who has COVID-19 is a student, teacher or other staff member.

That person was normally at the school as part of their daily routine, and was at the school last week, according to assistant superintendent Sean Nosek.

That person is now self-isolating at home and a small group of people who were in close proximity with them have been contacted by health authorities and told to monitor for symptoms.

In a letter to parents sent out Sunday night, Dr. Meena Dawar, medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health, said health authorities have “completed a thorough risk assessment of potential exposure to the school community and have identified a small group of individuals who have a low risk of exposure.” Those people have been informed and are being monitored, according to the letter.

“The risk to the general community remains low.”

The school district is doing a deep clean and disinfection of the school over spring break while the school is closed, according to Nosek.

The news of a case at an elementary school comes as health authorities in British Columbia are still grappling with a decision about whether to extend spring break beyond the usual two weeks in response to COVID-19. Public schools in the province are currently closed for their regular spring break until near the end of March.

So far, most of B.C.’s cases of coronavirus have been linked to travel, although the number of “community” transmissions is also increasing. Community transmission occurs when the virus doesn’t come from a known or existing source.

Irwin Park Elementary has a culturally diverse population. About 45 per cent of its 417 students are English Language Learners.

Earlier this year, parent volunteers who were organizing Lunar New Year events at Irwin Park cancelled those over concerns about coronavirus.