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Seycove families get first COVID-19 exposure warning in North Van schools

Three more schools in West Van added to exposure list

Parents in more schools across the North Shore have received notices this week warning them about possible COVID-19 exposures.

For the first time, parents at a North Vancouver school have also received a letter.

Parents at Seycove Secondary got a notice Friday of a possible COVID-19 exposure at the school between Sept. 30 and Oct. 5. The person who has tested positive for the coronavirus is now self-isolating at home, according to the letter. Vancouver Coastal Health teams are now contact tracing and will call anyone considered to be a close contact.

Up until now, North Vancouver schools had managed to dodge any incidents of COVID-19 exposures.

In West Vancouver, three more schools have been added to Vancouver Coastal Health list of school exposures: Ridgeview Elementary plus Collingwood and Mulgrave private schools.

A letter to families at Ridgeview Elementary went home Oct. 12 warning of a possible exposure to COVID-19 on Oct. 2, 5 and 9 in students and staff of the Grade 6 Division 3 class at the school. Families are being asked to monitor for symptoms while contact tracing is underway.

One class of about 20 Kindergarten students at Mulgrave is currently isolating after exposure to a positive case on Oct. 7 to 9. Several adults who interact with the students have also been asked to self-isolate, according to a letter that went home to parents on the weekend.

Families at a second private school, Collingwood, also received a letter Oct. 10 warning that two students – one at the Wentworth Campus and another at the Morven Campus – have also tested positive for COVID-19. Dates of possible exposure at the Wentworth Campus are Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 2, 6 and 7 and at the Morven Campus are Oct. 5 and 6, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.

In the letter, the school stated, “It is important to note that this was not a school-related transmission. VCH believes that our very active student body are involved in a number of activities outside of school, and many of the students identified in tracing are in the same activity groups.”

A letter also went to families at Rockridge Secondary Oct. 13 warning of a positive COVID-19 case that is considered a low risk to have exposed anyone else at the school.

A letter also went out to parents at North Vancouver’s Sherwood Park Elementary after a child or staff member at the North Shore Childcare Centre located within the school tested positive with possible exposure dates of Oct. 5, 6, 7 and 9. The letter from the school principal added the childcare uses its own washrooms and play area and children and staff there wear masks indoors and the school is not aware of any exposures in the rest of the elementary school.

Neither of those schools was listed on Vancouver Coastal Health’s list of school exposures.

The latest school exposure warnings in North Shore schools come in the same week Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s medical health officer, warned that a number of cases of COVID-19 in school-aged children have actually been linked to sports activities in the community rather than transmission at school.

“There have been very limited, small numbers of transmission events in schools, there have been transmission events with school aged children who are together outside of school, and also with families who've been in the activities together outside of the school, as well,” said Henry on Monday.

“We've seen some transmission, particularly in spectators whose children are playing, whether that's indoors into an arena or a sports field,” she added.

On the North Shore, Vancouver Coastal Health recently ordered Hollyburn Country Club to close and spectating areas at the North Shore Winter Club were also ordered closed by health authorities after both were linked to cases of COVId-19.

Henry also warned parents to pare down the number of activities their children are involved in.

“I'm hearing lots of reports of people being involved in multiple different activities and this is a time where we need to whittle it down, make sure we keeping our contacts smaller,” she said. “Pick the one that's important to you and stick with that group of people rather than having different groups of people that you're playing hockey or ball hockey or soccer with on different days.”