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Hazelton school reopens after closure due to illness-caused staff shortage

Hazelton Secondary was one of the first in B.C. to undergo a ‘functional closure’
Hazelton Secondary School is open today (Jan. 17) after being closed due to a staff shortage caused by illness. (File photo)

Hazelton Secondary School reopened today (Jan. 17) following a “functional closure” last week due to illness.

In a Jan. 16 letter posted to the Coast Mountains School District 82 website, superintendent Janet Meyer said that regular classes would be in session and buses would be running as normal.

“We are extremely grateful for the resilience and perseverance demonstrated by the staff, students and families of Hazelton Secondary School during these unprecedented times,” Meyer said in the letter.

“Let us all remember to focus on our personal well-being at this time while taking care and supporting one another.”

The education ministry said schools in both Hazelton and Surrey made the decision to enter “functional closure” following the winter break.

Hazelton Secondary School was also closed on Jan. 10, due to a heating issue at the school, with the closure as a result of illness being announced later.

ALSO READ: Hazelton Secondary School closed due to heating issue

Ginger Fuller, secretary-treasurer of the Coast Mountain School District, said Hazelton Secondary School was closed because of a staff shortage, but due to privacy concerns she could only confirm the closure was a result of illness.

A message to parents and caregivers posted on Hazelton Secondary School’s website says there are two ways a school can be functionally closed: either by Northern Health Authority recommendation due to the COVID-19 case count or safety concerns related to a shortage of staff.

“The school district may close a school due to a shortage of staff to be able to provide a required level of student safety,” says the notice to parents. “This would likely be due to a high absenteeism of all staff or certain employees required for a school to function and the inability to replace those absences.”

—With files from the Canadian Press

READ MORE: School district says Hazelton Secondary School closed as a result of illness