West Van's Rockridge added to COVID-19 school exposure list

Another West Vancouver high school has been added to the list of schools where possible COVID-19 exposures have occurred.

Rockridge Secondary was added to the list by Vancouver Coastal Health on Tuesday afternoon, listing Sept. 23 and 24 as possible exposure dates.

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The official notice to families came two days after a West Vancouver mother posted on a local Facebook page where parents are sharing information about COVID-19 cases in schools, saying both she and her Grade 9 daughter had tested positive after the girl’s younger sister was sent home to isolate after a possible exposure in a Grade 2 class at Caulfeild Elementary.

Some students at Rockridge have now been told to self-isolate, according to a letter sent home to families Tuesday afternoon. Others students have been told to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Two classes at Caulfeild Elementary – one Grade 2 class and one Grade 5 class are also self-isolating at home after possible exposures to the virus.

Vancouver Coastal Health lists Sept. 16 to 18 and Sept. 21 to 24 as possible dates of exposure.

At least four children in the Grade 2 class have now tested positive for COVID-19, many after displaying only mild symptoms or in some cases, no symptoms at all, according to parents who’ve been public about their family situations.

One mom said she got her son tested after he developed a runny nose – and it came back positive.

Another mom said she had her daughter tested even though she had no symptoms – and that test also came back positive.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday most people without symptoms don’t need to be tested for COVID-19.

Testing a lot of people without symptoms hasn’t helped identify clusters of cases in other provinces, said Henry, and takes resources away from those with symptoms who really need the tests.

But a number of parents who are discussing the West Vancouver cases on the local Facebook page have made it clear they don’t trust that advice.

A number of parents said since they’ve learned of cases circulating in their children’s social groups they’ve taken their kids to be tested for COVID-19 – currently being administered at the North Shore rapid testing site in the parking lot of Centennial Theatre as well as at Children’s Hospital.

Children are now being tested using a new gargle and spit test developed in B.C. instead of by the more uncomfortable nasal swab.

Coralynn Gehl, who started the Facebook page to help families share information, said she’s not happy about the length of time it’s taking health authorities to get the word out to families who might be impacted by COVID-19 exposures.

In the case of Rockridge, word didn’t go out until two days after the case was reported, she said.

“In the meantime, all of those kids who should be isolating were in class all day yesterday and most of the day today. How, as parents, can we have faith in the system when it is so slow?” she said. 

A class of Grade 12 students and their teacher are also isolating at West Vancouver’s Sentinel Secondary


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