Kids aren’t in school this week but that didn’t stop spring break from starting with a rash of recent COVID exposure notices on the North Shore.
Over a dozen COVID notices went out to families in North and West Vancouver on March 14 and 15, said Coralynn Gehl, who runs a Facebook site where local parents share information about school cases and notices.
Gehl said that’s 35 exposure notices she’s counted for the first half of March.
The exposure notices come at a time when COVID cases have been creeping up on the North Shore.
There were 157 new cases of coronavirus in the week ending March 4, according to information released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, compared to 124 cases the previous week. That’s the highest number reported since public health made those statistics available in December.
Most of the cases – and most of the latest school exposures – have been in North Vancouver.
One class of Grade 4 students at the Vancouver Waldorf School, a private school in North Vancouver, will be spending their spring break in isolation after receiving a notice that any Grade 4 students or staff who attended between March 10 and 12 should spend the next 14 days isolating.
Four classes at Ecole Windsor Secondary received notices, including two Grade 8 classes – a robotics and a PE class – exposed March 5, 9, 11 and 12, and Math 9 and LC 9 class exposed March 10 -12.
Two classes at Ecole Handworth Secondary received notices – a human anatomy 12 class exposed March 10 and 12 and a math 10 class exposed March 9-12.
A Grade 11 social studies class was also exposed at Carson Graham March 9.
At St. Thomas Aquinas private school, three classes were included in an exposure notice: a pre-calculus, basketball academy and a law class exposed March 8 and 9 and a Grade 8 class exposed March 11 and 12.
At the elementary level, eight classes were included in an exposure notice at Seymour Heights with exposure dates of March 9 and 10.
A Grade 4/5 class was exposed at Eastview March 11 and 12, a Grade 5/6 class was exposed at Ecole Ross Road March 8 and 9 and a Grade 2 class at Carisbrook was exposed March 9-12.
Students in a Grade 2/3 class at Boundary were also exposed March 4, 5, 8 and 9. Students in a Grade 6/7 class at Ridgeway were exposed March 11 and 12.
In West Vancouver, several classes at Ecole Sentinel Secondary received notices including a choir class, AP biology and a pre-calculus class exposed March 8-11. A Grade 12 AP psychology class at Rockridge was exposed March 9 and 10 and a Grade 9 class at Collingwood private school was exposed March 14.
Last week, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, varied the rules to allow up to 10 people to get together outside, but maintained the ban on indoor socializing, saying that is still leading to the spread of the virus.
“Let’s be clear, sleepovers indoors are an ixnay,” said Henry.
Instead, said Henry, “go out and play a game in the park, go out and have a picnic. Have a barbecue in your backyard, but keep your distance.”
Last week, North Vancouver schools superintendent Mark Pearmain urged families to keep COVID safety in mind over spring break. He also told trustees he has not been informed of any “variants of concern” showing up in local school cases so far.