As Fraser Health Authority responds to rapidly spreading variant of COVID-19 in its schools, officials in the capital region are monitoring the situation closely

Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association president Winona Waldron said news of a variant of COVID-19 at school was concerning Health officials say testing so far indicates that the cases are linked to the variant first identified in the UK

“We are already seeing an increase in exposures in our schools, so that only further exacerbates this situation and adds to this anxiety,” she said.

Although the rules for wearing masks in schools have been tightened recently, Ms Waldron said she would like to see them even stricter

BC Teachers’ Federation president Teri Mooring said she did not agree with the current directive, which requires middle and high school students to be hidden indoors, but not on their office Henry said it was the same as in offices or restaurants, but Mooring said students sat side by side and other environments did not compare well with schools

Mooring has said she would like masks to be mandatory for children 10 and older, and perhaps a system where students in hard-hit schools don’t attend classes full-time “It has become really clear that some schools in the districts are much more affected than others,” she said

Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said on Monday the variant was detected at one school in Delta and six in Surrey Rapid tests were carried out on Sunday and Monday, she said, the 35 Surrey School District staff who tested Sunday and found negative for COVID-19

She noted that tests showed the first variant found in a school did not lead to any transmission. “What this tells us is that our health and safety protocols are working”

Deputy Provincial Health Administrator Dr Reka Gustafson said the school mask policy is based on the ability of individuals to comply and there are no plans to make any changes

She said the test was one of the most important tools in dealing with COVID-19, and the province had started using new technology to screen for variants The increase in screening has led to the detection of more variants, she said

Saanich School District Superintendent Dave Eberwein said it was important to listen to what is being said by provincial officials

“We make sure to continue to follow the advice of the head of health and the minister of education,” he said. “Of course we are keeping an eye on things to make sure that our schools, our students and staff are safe “

According to Island Health, anyone who may have been at high risk will be contacted by public health and tasked with self-isolation People not contacted should continue to attend school as long as they have no symptoms

A joint statement from Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix said there were 28 new confirmed cases of variants of concern, for a total of 101 Fifty-eight of them were found in the health region Fraser

A total of 1,428 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in BC since Friday, including 99 in the Island Health region

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News from around the world – CA – COVID-19 variant discovered in BC Schools raise concerns in capital region

Source: https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/discovery-of-covid-19-variant-in-b-c-schools-creates-concern-in-capital-region-1.24285524