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New spike in COVID cases being reported in North Shore schoolchildren

Notice of classroom exposure minimal, despite Omicron threat, says West Van mom
Students in North Vancouver and West Vancouver schools have recently tested positive for COVID. photo Mike Wakefield, North Shore News

The annual winter break from classes in North Shore schools is beginning for some families with notices of recent COVID exposures in local classrooms.

After several quiet weeks in November, students in a number of North Shore schools have recently tested positive for the virus, even as some have recently become eligible for vaccines.

“There was definitely a break,” says Coralynn Gehl, a West Vancouver mom who runs a local Facebook site where parents share information about local COVID-19 cases in school-aged children. “Now, all of a sudden I’m getting (reports again.)”

Recent cases in West Vancouver include a child in Grade 9 at Mulgrave private school, reported Dec. 15. In that case, the mother of the child who tested positive wanted others to know her child also plays hockey at Hollyburn Country Club, said Gehl.

Collingwood’s Wentworth campus has also had three students in grades 5 and 6 test positive as of Dec. 15.

A parent at Irwin Park Elementary also reported that their child in Grade 1 tested positive, with exposure dates of Dec. 9 and 10.

In North Vancouver, a child in a kindergarten class at Carisbrooke Elementary has also tested positive, with potential exposure dates of Dec. 6 and 7.

Ecole Larson Elementary has also reported more than one positive case in a grade 4/5 class with exposure dates ranging from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7.

Cases have also been reported in the secondary school in L’Ecole Andre Piolat and in North Star Montessori Elementary on Dec. 14.

Gehl said in most cases information is coming from the parents of the children who test positive themselves, with Vancouver Coastal Health providing little or no notice to other families with children in the same class as a positive case.

In some cases, “they know their child has played with or sat relatively close to a child who has tested positive,” and parents still have not been notified, said Gehl.

Parents are frustrated, she said, especially when making plans to see older families members without any knowledge of the risks they could be running.

The spike in school cases reflects a trend of increased case counts on the North Shore in the past 10 days. In the week of Dec. 10 to 16, parts of North Vancouver had the highest case rate in the Lower Mainland.

The District of West Vancouver also reported Monday that a person who was at the West Vancouver community centre on Weds, Dec. 15 also tested positive for COVID.