Island Health has declared four new COVID-19 school exposures connected to facilities in Port Alberni.
A notice posted on the Island Health website suggests there have been possible exposures to the coronavirus at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre, AW Neill Elementary School, Maquinna Elementary School, and EJ Dunn Elementary School.
The exposure at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre, located at 2941 8 Ave. in Port Alberni, took place on Nov. 24 and 25. In this case, the school district says that the exposure “was of limited duration and confined to a small program…and does not affect the general student population.” The district adds that contact tracing has been completed for anyone who needs to self-isolate.
The exposure at AW Neill Elementary School, located at 5055 Compton Rd. in Port Alberni, took place on Nov. 23 and 24. Island Health has completed contact tracing for this case as well in order to identify any staff and students that need to self-isolate or self-monitor for symptoms.
The exposure at Maquinna Elementary School, located at 3881 Bruce St. in Port Alberni, took place on Nov. 19, 20, 23, 24 and 25. The case linked to Maquinna Elementary has resulted in a full classroom self-isolating out of caution due to “the nature of the contact in this classroom,” according to School District 70.
The exposure at EJ Dunn Elementary School, located at 3500 Argyle St. in Port Alberni, took place on Nov. 24. The school district has advised that this exposure is limited to “a self-contained Early Years program operating at EJD” and does not affect the general student population.
According to Island Health, exposure is defined as a single person with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection who attended school during their infectious period.
In addition to these four schools in Port Alberni, Island Health has four other facilities currently on its School Exposures list – three located in Victoria and one in Qualicum Beach.
Island Health notes that if a parent or guardian sees a notification on the health authority’s school exposure site does not necessarily mean their child has been exposed to COVID-19.
Island Health said Public Health members work with the school and school district to ensure close contacts are notified directly and provided specific guidance.
If a parent or guardian does not receive a phone call or letter from Public Health, a child can continue to attend school, Island Health said.
In a letter sent out to parents, students and staff, the school district says that even if parents do not receive a call, they should still monitor their child for symptoms over the next 14 days.