Here’s what will happen if COVID-19 hits a Burnaby school

COVID-19 has yet to hit a Burnaby school but the district is “ready and prepared,” according to a letter from its superintendent.

In a notice to families last week, Gina Niccoli-Moen explained what would happen if an exposure was reported at a school here.

“Despite the best efforts of all, schools are a reflection of the community, and we may unfortunately see some cases in our district,” she wrote.

All of Burnaby’s neighbouring school districts have already reported exposures. As of Wednesday, four schools in Vancouver, four in New Westminster and one in Coquitlam had seen positive cases.

If a student, staff member or any other person who’s been in a Burnaby school tests positive for COVID-19, Niccoli-Moen said Fraser Health officials will interview the infected individual and initiate a contact tracing process.

“Fraser Health will determine how the individual was infected and who they were in close contact with,” Niccoli-Moen said.

Fraser Health officials will then decide what steps close contacts should take, such as self-isolation or self-monitoring for symptoms for 14 days.

Niccoli-Moen stressed that “only Fraser Health can determine who is a close contact.”

(Confirmed close contacts are identified based on the length of time of exposure and the nature of the interaction with the infected person, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.)

Niccoli-Moen said the school district and Fraser Health will work together on a plan to let staff, students and their families know when there is a confirmed case at a local school and if it impacts them.

She reminded families to continue their daily health checks to monitor students for illness before sending them to school.

“We will undoubtedly be managing COVID-19 in our lives for some time,” Niccoli-Moen said. “It remains essential that, as things continue to evolve, we remember who we are as a community. The safety and wellbeing of our entire community rests upon us all.”

School exposures are now listed at the Fraser Health school exposures webpage here.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor

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