Officials from B.C.’s Francophone school district have decided to close the doors of Kelowna school École de l’Anse-au-sable after health officials declared a COVID-19 outbreak last week.
After an analysis of the school’s population and its available human resources, School District 93 (Conseil Scolaire Francophone) had “no choice” but to close the school until Nov. 4, stated an email to Capital News.
During her briefing on Monday, Oct. 26, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke of the l’Anse-au-sable outbreak.
“We knew, of course, this would be a possibility, especially in some of the smaller schools where the potential of exposure impacts a larger proportion of the school population,” says Henry.
“While the numbers of people with COVID-19 are small, the requirement for those in contact to be in self-isolation has meant the school can no longer safely operate, so schools are working with families to ensure educational opportunities continue remotely during this period.”
Eleven cases of the virus have been tied to the school since the outbreak began. According to Interior Health, 160 members of the school community are self-isolating after being exposed to the virus. The health authority said the school was exposed to the virus Oct. 13-16 as well as Oct.19 and 20. The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since school resumed back in September.
École de l’Anse-au-sable is not part of SD23, the Central Okanagan’s main public school district.
However, a single positive case of COVID-19 has been identified at SD23’s Kelowna Secondary School (KSS), officials announced Sunday afternoon (Oct. 25).
The person is in self-isolation at home, with the support of public health teams, according to the school district.
Contact tracing is underway and Interior Health will follow up with those who may have been exposed to the virus. It is not yet clear whether the person is a student, staff or faculty member at KSS.
This story was updated with comment from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
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