Fraser Health launches website for COVID-19 exposures in schools
Published Wednesday, September 16, 2020 7:04PM PDT
A board outside Johnston Heights Secondary School in Surrey, B.C. welcomes students to the fall semester. The school is one of several in the Lower Mainland that have experienced COVID-19 exposure events.
VANCOUVER -- Fraser Health has launched a website listing all COVID-19 exposures at schools in the region, and other health authorities are expected to follow suit soon.
The website promises "timely and accurate" information for parents, many of whom have expressed concerns about the growing number of cases linked to schools.
"With the extraordinary circumstances that we're in, I know that some parents and students are anxious about going back to school," said Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health CEO.
"We want to offer parents and students a resource to know if their school community has been impacted by COVID-19."
Up until now, parents and staff members have been notified directly when an exposure is detected at their school. Those notification letters will continue, officials said.
Few details are listed online apart from the school name and the date of the possible exposure. The website does not indicate the number of students who might have been exposed and potentially sent home.
"What we're currently disclosing is an exposure event," Lee said. "An exposure event means that there has been a single individual present at the school who has (a) lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection and who was in the school during their infectious period."
The website will also specify if any school experiences an actual outbreak of COVID-19, though that hasn't happened yet in British Columbia.
Exposures are broken up by the 11 school districts located in the Fraser Health region, which are:
- Fraser Cascade
- Maple Ridge
- New Westminster
Officials noted that 40 per cent of the province's school-aged children live in those districts.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced Wednesday that the rest of the province's health authorities will be launching their own school exposure websites.
They did not provide a timeline for the websites except to say that they will be "ready soon."