COVID-19: North Shore school closes out of 'abundance of caution'
Published Monday, March 9, 2020 6:08PM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, March 10, 2020 6:16AM PDT
VANCOUVER -- A private school on the North Shore has temporarily closed down after learning a "close contact" of someone in the school community caught COVID-19.
Collingwood School said the person infected with the virus is "not a student, family member, or staff member" of anyone who attends either of the West Vancouver school's campuses.
But the person is close with one Collingwood family, which is why administrators decided to start spring break a week early.
"While Vancouver Coastal Health's regional communicable disease control advises that the risk is limited, we have made the decision to close the school for spring break out of an abundance of caution in order to deep clean our buildings and safeguard our community," headmaster Lisa Evans said in an email.
Collingwood didn't indicate the COVID-19 patient had even been on school grounds.
Parents picking up their kids Monday afternoon told CTV News that they were pleased with the school’s response, saying it's better to be safe than sorry.
Isabel Taake lives near the secondary school campus. Her son is not a student there, but she says fear is growing at his school as well.
"He goes to one of the public schools in West Vancouver and he says half of his class stayed home today,” said Taake.
Two public schools in Surrey had their own scares over the weekend, though both were open as usual on Monday after the buildings were given a deep clean.
Parents at Serpentine Elementary School were informed Sunday that someone who has now been diagnosed with COVID-19 was inside the gym for a community use rental about a week ago. The individual is not a student or teacher.
Someone from Sullivan Heights Secondary School has also tested positive for the virus, though officials said the patient didn't show symptoms while on school grounds. It's unclear whether the individual is a student or teacher.
The Surrey school district said in both cases, the risk of catching COVID-19 was expected to be minimal. However, students who attended Monday said some classes were nearly empty due to people deciding to stay home.