Island Health is reporting potential COVID-19 exposures at Ucluelet Elementary School on Sept. 22, Sept. 23 Sept. 24 and Sept. 28. (Westerly file photo)

Island Health is reporting potential COVID-19 exposures at Ucluelet Elementary School on Sept. 22, Sept. 23 Sept. 24 and Sept. 28. (Westerly file photo)

Tofino, Ucluelet and Bamfield schools added to COVID-19 exposure list

High risk contacts will be notified by Island Health and directed to self-isolate

Both Tofino and Ucluelet’s elementary schools have been added to Island Health’s potential COVID-19 exposure list.

Ucluelet Elementary School was initially reported to have had a potential exposure on Sept. 28, though Island Health has since added four additional days: Sept. 22, Sept. 23, Sept. 24 and Sept. 29

Tofino’s Wickaninnish Community School is currently listed with a potential exposure on Sept. 29.

Bamfield Community School has also been added to the list with a potential exposure on Oct. 1.

In an email to parents on Oct. 7, UES principal Jaime Hansen explained that Island Health is responsible for investigating possible COVID-19 exposures and determining how students and parents will be notified.

“Typically, high risk contacts will be notified by Island Health and directed to self-isolate for a specified period, while others in the class will receive a letter advising students to self-monitor for COVID19 symptoms. General notification of a school exposure, cluster, or outbreak is posted to the Island Health website,” the letter reads, in part.

“While there might be rumours of COVID19 or social media posts from families, it is only when a case is confirmed by Island Health’s COVID19 Monitoring Team that the school is officially notified and the exposure investigation process begins. For confidentiality reasons, we will not disclose information on who has COVID19 or who has been identified as a high-risk contact, nor will we discuss social media posts or rumours regarding other potential COVID19 cases.”

Hansen added that the school appreciates the concern and anxiety parents might be feeling with regards to COVID-19 and that anyone feeling uncertain about sending their child to school should contact the school’s administration.

“The general notice is provided to be transparent with our school community and should not be taken that your child has been exposed to COVID19 or that you should keep your child at home as a result of an exposure in another class,” the letter reads. “Unless you have been directly contacted by Island Health or received a letter regarding an exposure in your child’s class, please continue with your own daily health checks and continue to send your child to school.”

Island Health’s website says it works directly with schools to identify any possible exposures.

“Those identified as cases will be instructed to self-isolate directly by our Public Health teams. Those identified as close contacts may be asked to self-isolate or closely self-monitor for symptoms for a specified period,” it reads. “If you have not been notified by Public Health by phone or by letter that you or your child need to self-isolate, you/they may continue to attend school as long as you/they are not experiencing any symptoms.”

A self-assessment tool is available at bc.thrive.health and a health checklist for students can be found at www.bccdc.ca/schools.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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