Surrey elementary school confirms connection to coronavirus case

Mar 8 2020, 9:01 pm

An elementary school in Surrey “initiated a deep clean protocol” over the weekend, and “postponed the community use rental group permit until further notice,” after it was discovered that a person diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus) was in the school gym on Saturday, as part of a community event.

In a letter sent to parents on Sunday and obtained by Daily Hive, Superintendent Jordan Tinney writes that on Saturday, “the Fraser Health Authority informed the Surrey School District that an individual, who was in a school as part of a community use rental, has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).”

And while Tinney writes that the risk to the “general school community” has been deemed low by Fraser Health officials, the school, Serpentine Heights Elementary, is still taking steps to “prepare” for the week ahead.

“The novel coronavirus is spread between people by droplets, which requires close contact with saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person,” he writes. “As such, individuals not in direct contact with the affected individual are at low risk.”

With this information, and “out of an abundance of caution,” Tinneey says the school has initiated a deep clean protocol over the weekend in the school in preparation for Monday classes, and postponed the community use rental group permit until further notice.

“As always, Health Canada reminds us that the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and to cover your mouth and nose with your arm when you cough or sneeze and to wash your hands as soon as possible afterwards,” he writes. “To help students comply with this advice, we will reinforce these recommendations on our daily morning announcements and in classrooms around the district.”

If the school and/or district receives “any additional information, we will be in contact with parents and staff,” Tinney writes. “Thank you for your patience as we work through this together as a community and in close collaboration with our Health Authorities.”

On Saturday morning, British Columbia Health officials identified six new cases of COVID-19, including two in residents of a long-term care facility on Vancouver’s North Shore.

Further information about novel coronavirus is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

In addition, Fraser Health has developed a website to answer common
questions about novel coronavirus.