Surrey secondary school issues coronavirus advisory

Mar 9 2020, 3:36 pm

A secondary school in Surrey is advising its staff, students, and faculty that one of the recent confirmed cases of coronavirus is a member of its community.

In a letter, Sullivan Heights Secondary says the person identified “was asymptomatic during their time at the school; therefore, the risk to the school population is minimal.”

There is “no evidence that novel coronavirus is transmitted via asymptomatic individuals and the risk is low for the staff and students at Sullivan Heights.”

The letter comes at the same time that it was confirmed a person diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) was in the gym of Serpentine Heights Elementary school in Surrey over the weekend, as part of a community event.

“The purpose of advising you of this information is to ensure that you are aware of the low risk in your local community and to reinforce protective measures that we are recommending for all schools, especially, staying at home when you are sick, regardless of symptom severity,” reads the Sullivan Heights letter.

Still, as a precaution, and to keep the school community safe, “the Surrey School District is enhancing cleaning protocols and reinforcing public health recommendations during daily morning announcements to the school community.”

The school stresses that it is not recommending coronavirus assessment or testing “for anyone in receipt of this letter.”

Anyone who is concerned about their need for assessment is advised to call 811, rather than going directly to a healthcare provider. “Clinicians will not test asymptomatic individuals for COVID-19,” the letter states.

During this time, people are also being reminded of the steps they can take themselves, which include the following:

• Washing hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water
• Using alcohol-based hand rubs to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled
• Avoiding touching your face/eyes/mouth with unwashed hands
• Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow

The school says that while it understands people may have more questions about this specific situation, it cannot provide any further information due to privacy issues.

“We remind people the risk to the public is low and those who need to be aware of possible exposure have been contacted,” the letter concludes.

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 coronavirus is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

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

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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