Island Health has reported that there are four public schools in Port Alberni that have had lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases, potentially exposing students and staff to the virus.
At Maquinna Elementary School exposure dates include Nov. 19, 20, 23, 24 and 25, A.W. Neill had an exposure on Nov. 23 and 24, the Eighth Avenue Learning Centre had an exposure on Nov. 24 and 25, while E.J. Dunn reported an exposure on Nov. 24.
Island Health defines exposure as a single person with lab-confirmed COVID-19 who attended school during their infectious period.
According to the provincial website, public health works directly with school staff to identify anyone who may have been exposed, in order to carry out case and contact management. Those identified as cases and close contacts will be instructed to self-isolate directly by public health teams.
Any positive cases or high-risk exposures in the public school system will be required to self-isolate. They will receive further instructions from the public health authority on self-care.
Only public health nurses and medical health officers determine who is a close contact. Learning groups, friends or other connections may not be included in this designation.
“Island Health has completed contact tracing to identify any staff and students that need to self-isolate or self-monitor for symptoms,” reads a letter sent by Island Health to Maquinna parents on Sunday, Nov. 29. “The nature of the contact in this classroom prompted health officials and school leaders to act out of an abundance of caution and have the entire class self-isolate.”
Island Health says that if parents or guardians have not been contacted by public health officials, they can rest assured that their child has not had a high-risk exposure at school. Children will be permitted to go to school, provided they do not have symptoms.
Symptoms include fever, chills, worsening cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of taste or smell, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
In September Alberni District Secondary School reported one positive case of COVID-19. The following month Wood Elementary School reported a positive case and in November ADSS reported a second confirmed case.
All school exposures identified by Public Health will be posted on their webpage at: https://www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/covid-19/exposures-schools