Nanaimo school closes K-5 in-class learning to stop COVID-19 outbreak

Nanaimo school closes K-5 in-class learning to stop COVID-19 outbreak
CHEK

At just 10-years-old, Bree Patience has already learned how to pivot.

The fast-growing COVID-19 outbreak at her Nanaimo Christian School (NCS) has sent the Grade 5 student back to at-home learning, just like at the start of the pandemic.

“I’m really fine with home school or at school. I’m just like if I can be myself then I’m good,” said Bree Patience, a Nanaimo resident.

According to her Dad, rapidly growing cases at the school in recent weeks had the family prepared for anything and they’re grateful they’ve stayed healthy so far.

“It definitely felt like we were on the home stretch, like going into this year, we kind of thought the craziness was behind us and obviously now it’s kind of continued for a little longer than expected,” said Josh Patience, a Nanaimo father of three.

The Principal of NCS said COVID-19 cases started to rise in the school on November 5.

Two weeks later, nearly half of the 350 students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 are impacted, either in isolation or positive with the virus.

“The unvaccinated is where we are seeing a lot of the cases occurring and in a school that’s everyone from kindergarten to age 12 where we’re seeing those transmissions happening,” said James Sijpheer, Principal of Nanaimo Christian School.

Beginning Friday, November 19, the grades seeing the highest rise in COVID-19 cases and in-school transmission will be closed at Nanaimo Christian School for two weeks — making it the first school on Vancouver Island to do this in an effort to prevent further spread of the virus.

“We just want to break that cycle of transmission that we’re seeing. We want to give families a chance to focus on being safe and well. We want to protect our staff and our entire community,” said Sijpheer.

The school has recorded far fewer cases in its middle school and high school populations, so those classes remain open.

In-school classes are scheduled to resume on November 30.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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