Fraser health changes notification process for COVID-19 school exposures

Dec 6 2020, 12:34 pm

Fraser Health announced it is “enhancing” the way it notifies staff members and parents of COVID-19 exposures at schools.

In a release, the health authority said the change will enable them to more quickly determine students and staff who may have been exposed to the virus.

The change is in response to feedback Fraser Health received from schools and parents.

“With the support of school districts and schools, we have streamlined our assessment and notification process to help reduce anxiety for the school community, and provide timely and clear actions to impacted individuals,” Fraser Health said in a release.

Previously, if there was a COVID-19 exposure at a school, staff and parents received a general early notification letter asking them to monitor for symptoms. Fraser Health would then contact anyone who was directly impacted by the exposure to provide further instruction.

Under the new protocols, administrators will send out three types of letters that provide “targeted” information on what actions someone should follow based on a preliminary assessment of their exposure.

The “exposed” letter will be sent to individuals, cohorts, and classes who have potentially been exposed to a person with COVID-19. Fraser Health says the letter advises recipients to continue to come to school and to monitor for symptoms daily.

The “not exposed” letter will be sent to individuals, cohorts, and classes who were not exposed to the virus. They may have been at school at the same time as the infected individual, but do not share a class or cohort with them.

The third letter is “general,” and will be shared with those who are not part of a specific class or cohort, such as a school counsellor. Fraser Health says recipients of this letter “may or may not” have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

If any further follow-up is required after the letters have been sent, Fraser Health will contact the impacted individuals directly.

To date, British Columbia has seen 36,132 COVID-19 cases and 492 deaths.