Ole Lammers / Staff reporter
When an exposure of any severity level occurs anywhere in a BC school, depending on where, the regional health authority in control of it will assign staff to investigate and control it throughout the whole duration of the exposure. Specifically for Gleneagle Secondary, Fraser Health will assign staff to perform contact tracing to investigate and monitor the potential spread of the exposure and notify and maintain informational contact with teachers, students and parents.
There have been multiple exposures and a few outbreaks in BC schools since the official return to in person class. In commitment to maintain a safe in person school experience for students of all levels this year, Fraser Health has been assigned to handle COVID-19 related exposures for Gleneagle Secondary and many surrounding schools. Since then they have put in place rigorous protocols to investigate and control any level of exposure in managed schools.
There are several levels of exposures that have been outlined by Fraser Health, these include a single confirmed case called an “Exposure”, two or more confirmed cases called a “Cluster”, and multiple confirmed cases that are likely spreading on school grounds called an “Outbreak”.
Protocols for all levels of exposures are similar but vary depending on the severity, for all exposures, Fraser Health will assign staff to the school for the full duration of the exposure that will keep the school and containing district updated with new information, they will also immediately begin contact tracing, this is performed to control and monitor the potential spread of the exposure. For all students directly linked to the confirmed case, Fraser Health will investigate and interview all potential connections, this includes other students and staff that may have shared class time, family and friends. From these connections, Fraser Health will close contacts from the investigations and encourage them to self isolate for the regular period of two weeks. When it comes to the highest severity level of exposure, an outbreak, the school affected will likely see a temporary halt of in person class to stop the spread.
When a confirmed case is detected, all attendees of the school will be informed by email from the school, but unless you receive an email or phone call from Fraser Health directly, Fraser Health says students should continue to attend but be checked for symptoms daily. Even with that recommendation in place, some parents and students are understandably concerned and have decided to not attend school during the duration of the exposure, which is considered an absence.