11 Central Okanagan schools, one Vernon school currently with COVID-19 exposures | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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11 Central Okanagan schools, one Vernon school currently with COVID-19 exposures

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November 14, 2020 - 2:00 PM

Kelowna Immaculata Regional High School is the latest on a growing list of Central Okanagan schools with a  COVID-19 exposure.

On Nov. 4, 6, and 9 there was a potential exposure, according to the Interior Health exposure page. Immaculate is the third independent currently listed with a potential exposure within the health region. The other two are  St. Joseph Elementary and Heritage Christian school, both in Kelowna.

Central Okanagan Public Schools exposures include École Élémentaire Casorso Elementary School, North Glenmore Elementary, Glenrosa, Ecole KLO, Ecole Dr. Knox and Constable Neil Bruce middle schools along with Kelowna and Okanagan Mission secondary schools.

No longer on the list is South Kelowna, Springvalley and Rose Valley elementary schools along with Ecole Rose Valley Middle School.

The only other school on the Interior Health page is Vernon's Mission Hill Elementary School.

Reports of COVID-19 in schools may be on the rise in Kelowna and elsewhere, but that in and of itself isn't cause for alarm.

"As we've seen around the world and we've seen it here in B.C., what happens in schools reflects what's happening in the community," Dr. Bonnie Henry said Nov. 9, noting a number of exposures in Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal areas, and also Kelowna.

"But we see very little transmission in schools, so that tells us that the layers (of protection) that we have in place in schools are working. So right now, what we need to do is focus on reducing transmission in the community, to protect the important aspects of schools, including classroom schooling."

If, however, it appeared that transmission was becoming an issue that may change, though Dr. Henry said that's not an ideal turn of events. It's important, she said, to ensure that decisions are made to keep transmission under control and one of the choices she urged was reducing extracurricular activities and sports that are outside the school environment.

"During this pandemic, we need to ensure that that education and our educational activities our school activities are prioritized for our children," she said.

"We know that this is not forever, but this year. Yes, it is important that children get physical exercise or that they participate in dance classes or our classes or or music, and we need to pick one of those (activities) outside of the school setting or focus on the activities that are related to the school so that you're not exposing your family to multiple different groups."

Having multiple different groups and widening social networks, she said, shouldn't be the norm right now.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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