Walnut Park Elementary School. (File photo)

Walnut Park Elementary School. (File photo)

Health authority reports COVID-19 exposure for Walnut Park Elementary

Northern Health says risk of transmission in school settings to be low in most cases

Walnut Park Elementary School is the second school in Smithers to experience a COVID-19 exposure.

In a letter distributed to parents yesterday afternoon, the Northern Health Authority says this exposure occurred Dec. 9 and 10.

The letter goes on to say that the school’s COVID safety plan was followed precisely making the risk of additional cases very low. However, it also informs staff and parents anyone who is identified as having been in close contact with the infected person will be contacted directly by public health and assisted with any actions required.

Itdefinesclosecontactasanyonewhohasbeenin“direct,face-to-facecontactforprolongedperiodsoftimewithaninfectiouscase.”

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The letter informs parents that if they are not informed personally of being a close contact, they and their children are not required to self-isolate, but suggests taking extra care to monitor children for symptoms until Dec. 24.

“Exposure to a confirmed case does not mean you, or your child, will become, sick — and this is especially the case with children,” the Northern Health letter stated. “COVID-19 has a very low infection rate in children and most are not at high risk. We expect to see COVID-19 cases in various community settings, including school settings, but we expect the risk of transmission in school to be low in most cases.”

There have been more than 60 exposures reported for schools in the Northern Health region since the beginning of November.

This is the third school exposure in Smithers and the third for School District 54 – Bulkley Valley.

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