From the JKCS CRT (Covid Response Team)

Fera Gunawan Times News

In light of the recent Covid-19 exposure in our school community understandably there were questions raised about the safety of our campuses. These questions are reasonable to ask especially as we watch the case count go up and variants become more prominent. We want to remind parents and students that the safety of our students and staff are of the utmost importance which is why we are diligently following all safety measures and protocols outlined by the Medical Health Officer. We are working diligently with Public Health and contact tracing to keep our community safe. It is also important to understand that what we are talking about in this instance is considered an exposure not an outbreak, meaning that a student or staff has tested positive and so far there is no spread.

What this recent exposure shows is that the processes implemented by the Medical Health Officer and Public Health are working well. We can take comfort in the fact that it was a community acquired case and there are so far no outbreaks or spread noted at school. As a community we are doing really well with each doing our part to help prevent the spread of this virus thus keeping our students and safe. That being said it is also important to remember that even though we do all we can to keep each other safe there is always a chance that we can unknowingly be exposed out in the community. What this means for us as a community is that we need to continue to follow the directives of the Medical Health Officer and stay the course, we need to band together as community of faith in prayer rather than in person. In faith we can support those affected in prayer for a speedy recovery as they go through this difficult and scary time. Please also keep our government officials and the Medical Health Officer in your prayers as with Covid fatigue setting in after an extremely difficult year it has made their jobs infinitely more difficult as evidenced by recent events covered in the media.

It is important to understand that when we receive a notification from the school that there has been an exposure in our school there is a lot happening behind the scenes even though it may seem like nothing is happening and information seems minimal. We thought it may be helpful to include information from the BCCDC as it pertains to the contact tracing process that takes place when there is a case at K-12 schools.

The following are copied from the BCCDC site:
What happens when someone who attends or works at school tests positive for COVID-19

If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19:

  1. Public health officials ask when their symptoms started and where they’ve been. This helps public health know if they were able to spread COVID-19 at school.
    • If they were able to spread COVID-19 at school, this is called an exposure. • If they were not able to spread COVID-19 at school, public health still makes sure any one who may be a close contact outside of
    school is notified.
  2. Contact tracing helps determine close contacts of the person who tested positive. These are usually staff or students who spent a lot of time
    around the person who tested positive.
    • Public health tells staff or students they are close contacts through a phone call or letter. They will need to self-isolate. The name of the person who tested positive is not shared.
  3. Staff and students who are not close contacts don’t have an increased chance of catching COVID-19. They are not contacted by public health.
    • After contact tracing, they are told about exposures through exposure notifications. These are letters sent from the school or posted on the regional health authority’s website.

Some health authorities send additional notifications
Public health follows up on every person who tests positive for COVID-19 at school. Some school districts tell the school community when contact tracing is starting. These are early exposure letters.
Public health may sometimes send letters to additional contacts at lower risk of exposure asking them to monitor for symptoms.

Clusters and outbreaks are different
Health and safety plans help prevent COVID-19 from spreading at school. Most people who have COVID-19 don’t spread it to another person at school. While COVID-19 does spread sometimes, JKCS has not experienced any clusters and outbreaks.

COVID-19 Safety and B.C. Schools
What we know so far (as of February 2021):

  1. Fewer school-aged children (5 to 18 years olds) have tested positive for COVID-19 compared to adults. Younger children make up a small propor-
    tion of cases than older children.
  2. Serious COVID-19 outcomes are less common in school-aged children.
  3. COVID-19 virus has a relatively low case rate among school-aged children.
    Source: BCCDC