Rising exposures of COVID-19 in Central Okanagan schools not risking closures: Superintendent | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Rising exposures of COVID-19 in Central Okanagan schools not risking closures: Superintendent

November 16, 2020 - 5:16 PM

COVID-19 exposures are racking up in Central Okanagan schools, but local officials aren’t yet worried that there will be staffing-related closures as has been seen in the Lower Mainland.

There are currently eight public schools and three independent schools in the Central Okanagan that have COVID-19 exposures, some of which have had multiple incidents. An exposure means that there has been someone with COVID-19 in the area. It doesn’t mean that there has been transmission of the disease.

That said, with each exposure, there’s a potential for further contacts being ordered to self isolate.

“At this time we are managing any requirements to replace staff due to Interior Health requiring staff isolations,” Kevin Kardaal, Central Okanagan Public Schools superintendent said in an email today, Nov. 16.

“We do not currently anticipate any problems with the current cases in the community and region. If cases continue to rise we will monitor the situation. Currently, School Safety and Pandemic Plans are working. We will continue our work with Interior Health and the Medical Officers and take direction from them.”

Last week, three schools closed for a two-week period in the Lower Mainland, a Fraser Health Authority release said. Two of them were due to staffing challenges presented by the clusters. Students at these schools will transition to remote learning for the two weeks.

This is something that Dr. Bonnie Henry has been trying to avoid.

“Schools are a reflection of what's happening in our community,” she said today, Nov. 16. “So we're looking at what measures can help us reduce risk in our communities and therefore protect our schools… we can see that transmission rates are less in schools than they are in other parts of our communities. (It is) also incredibly important for families and for children to have in-person in class, but we're looking at all of our options there are a whole bunch of things that are happening.”

Dr. Henry said discussions were happening across the country trying to establish the best way forward.

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