Coronavirus in Schools: How Many Cases in New Westminster?

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One month into the school year, five of the 12 schools in District 40 were suspended

How are New Westminster Schools doing for COVID-19 one month into the school year?

As of Monday, October 4, there were multiple school exposures in the New Westminster School District, including schools with multiple exposure dates but none that were declared as “clusters” or “outbreaks”.

The École Qayqayt Elementary School started the school year with the first exposure on September 8th. In total, five of the district’s 12 schools have recorded 40 exposures so far, as has the independent Urban Academy.

For comparison: In the 2020/21 school year the Record‘s database shows four school exposure reports for the month of September.

Fraser Health began reporting school exposures on September 28, after the province reversed its original decision not to provide general notifications for the 2021/22 school year. (The health authorities’ contributions only list exposure data and not the number of cases affected, so multiple data can relate to one or more cases.)

BC School COVID tracker, a parented effort to track all school exposures in BC has also maintained a database of school exposures based on parent-reported cases, with reports corroborated by letters from health officials.

Karim Hachlaf, superintendent of the New Westminster School District, said the district has a duty to educate parents about COVID exposures in schools. It prepares monthly reports on school risks at the meetings of the Management Board’s operations committee.

“We want to continue to ensure transparency and access to information so that parents are informed when an event related to a COVID-19 positive case takes place,” he said at a special board meeting on October 1st. “This will continue and we will work hard to continue to do our best with this communication in partnership with Fraser Health.”

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, also announced during a briefing on October 1 that the province will now provide monthly data reports on COVID exposures in schools, with the first such report due in mid-October.

She also stressed that families receive direct, in-person notification if a child is identified as “at risk” for COVID exposure.

COVID EXPOSURE IN NEW WESTMINSTER SCHOOLS

Here’s what happened in New Westminster so far in the 2021/22 school year:

  • École Qayqayt Elementary: September 8 (reported by BC School COVID Tracker; Fraser Health notifications changed earlier)
  • École Qayqayt Elementary: September 20, 21, 22 (reported by BC School COVID Tracker; Fraser Health notifications changed earlier)
  • Urban Academy (Independent): September 22, 23, 24 (reported on the Fraser Health website on September 29)
  • Herbert Spencer Elementary School: September 21 (reported on the Fraser Health website October 1)
  • Lord Kelvin Elementary: September 24th (reported on Fraser Health website September 29th)
  • Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary: September 21, 22, 23, 24 (reported on Fraser Health website October 1; BC School COVID Tracker confirms there are at least three separate cases)
  • New Westminster Secondary: September 22, 23, 24 (reported on the Fraser Health website October 3)
  • Lord Kelvin Elementary: September 22, 23, 28 (dates added on Fraser Health website October 3)
  • New Westminster Secondary: September 28th (date added on Fraser Health website October 4th)
  • Urban Academy (Independent): September 27-28 (dates added October 1st to Fraser Health website)

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT NEW WESTMINSTER SCHOOL EXPOSURES

Fraser health

New exposures in Westminster schools are listed on Fraser Health School suspensions website.

BC School COVID tracker

This parent-run database uses information provided directly by parents and verified by official letters from the health authority. There is a searchable database on the Internet.

Exposure clock

this new page, created by Gabriel Bauman, a New Westminster parent, provides a list of COVID-19 “hotspots” in BC schools and a search function to find school-specific information. Parents can also sign up for exposure alerts and report exposures. (Note that the listings can contain both confirmed and unconfirmed exposures; they are marked as such, with confirmed exposures including documentation.)

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemacellan.
Email to Julie, [email protected]



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