Nanaimo-Ladysmith has five schools with COVID-19 exposures

Nanaimo-Ladysmith has five schools with COVID-19 exposures
WatchA number of parents pulled their kids from three schools in Nanaimo-Ladysmith with new warnings Sunday of potential COVID-19 exposures.

As parents dropped off their kids Monday morning at Randerson Ridge Elementary, a number were feeling apprehensive.

The elementary school is the latest of three schools in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district to have a cluster of COVID-19 cases.

“A bit of anxiety,” said Jason Friske, as he dropped off his daughter.

Parents were notified ABOUT THE CLUSTER Sunday night.

“A bit of a surprise. I guess I was kind of expecting it at some point but here we are,” said Friske.

“A lot of parents are a little nervous and they have every right to but you know my little girl she’s feeling fine so she’s just going to wear her mask, wash her hands a few more times,” said Kjelsi Hamilton, a mother at the school.

Parents at Ladysmith Secondary and Frank Ney Elementary were also notified Sunday of a possible COVID-19 exposure, bringing the number of district schools dealing with someone testing positive with COVID-19 to five.

Jason Minter has held back his two kids from Frank Ney. He wants to know why the district isn’t ensuring schools follow their back to school plan.

“Literally, decisions were made on whether or not to send our kids to school based on their back to school plan so when that back to school plan is not being followed, It’s really frustrating because now that we have exposures here… a lot of us are wondering did we make the right choice for our children,” said Minter.

Minter says some schools aren’t keeping students to their cohorts during outdoor breaks or staggering arrivals and departures from school or ensuring only one child sits in each seat on the school bus.

The school district says it’s now reviewing it’s back to school plan and changes may be on the way.

B.C.’s education minister says that’s happening provincially too.

“There are ideas about where we may revise some guidelines either regionally or provincially that will be considered that have been advanced to Bonnie Henry and her colleagues,” said Rob Fleming in a media address in Victoria Monday.

He says one idea could involve extending the January-side of the winter holidays at schools.

Officials are pleading that people restrict in-person contacts as much as possible before the virus gets a firm grip in the region.

On Monday the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association also sent an email to parents about a confirmed case in its U8 division. Play is suspended for 10 days.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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