COVID-19 outbreak at Lower Mainland school leads to closure

Sep 23 2021, 5:23 pm

An elementary school in the Lower Mainland will be closed until early October after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared in the school community.

Promontory Heights Elementary School is located in Chilliwack. On Wednesday, Fraser Health and the school announced that it would be temporarily closing and moving to remote learning.

“We have experienced a spike in cases of COVID-19 within our school community in the past 10 days,” says school principal Chuck Bloch in a statement to families.

“Out of caution, the School Medical Health Officer and her team have determined that we should break from in-person learning in an effort to put a stop to the current spread of the virus in our school community.”

Promontory Heights will transition to remote learning, and it expects to return to in-person learning on October 4.

A notice from Fraser Health sent to parents and staff has asked that unvaccinated staff and students self-isolate at home. Those who are vaccinated will receive letters with instructions on self-monitoring. Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 is advised to get tested.

The closure comes just days before health officials are expected to unveil a new notification system for when COVID-19 cases and outbreaks occur within schools. The matter was addressed by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry earlier this week, who acknowledged the stress and anxiety that broad school notifications can cause.

“Initially, it was my understanding that there was a level of anxiety in the way that we had given broad school notifications last year,” she said during a press conference. “But we hear from parents across the province, I hear from educators, and our teams have recognized that parents do need an authoritative source to have an understanding of what’s happening at their children’s schools.”

“So we’ve heard that and we’ve asked our team to get together right now to make sure we can notify schools in a timely, less intrusive, and more sustainable way and that parents will have more access to that information rapidly, and I hope to have that in place by the end of this week.”

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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