Parents of one classroom of students at Gabriola Elementary Students received a letter alerting them to a possible COVID-19 exposure in the classroom on October 8, 2021.
The letter to parents was sent out on October 15, and was only sent to parents who have students in the single classroom (referred to as a Division by the school district) where the exposure took place.
Dale Burgos, Communications Director with Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools said this is the first time since the pandemic began that an exposure letter has been sent out to caregivers of GES students.
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC), an exposure occurs if a person attends school when they may have been potentially infectious with a communicable disease (e.g. COVID-19) and there is a risk of transmission to others.
When a potential exposure at a school is identified, public health will work with the school to understand who may have been exposed and determine what actions should be taken, including identifying if other students or staff have been exposed.
According to Island Health, once an exposure has been identified, Public Health works directly with school staff to identify anyone who may have been exposed, and to carry out case and contact management.
Those identified as cases will be contacted directly by Public Health, and instructed to self-isolate.
The letter to GES parents states, “Unless you or your student are notified as a high-risk contact, you/they are not required to isolate at this time but are required to monitor closely for symptoms for 14 days. If, over the course of the contact tracing process, you or your child are determined to be at higher risk than originally thought, you will receive an additional letter or phone call to inform you and provide instructions. It may take several days to complete this process.”
Burgos said, “We have visitor log sheets in every classroom (for contact tracing). The notice is to be shared with any individuals that are directly connected to this exposure. If there was a volunteer identified in the investigation, they too would get a letter.”
For a full list of symptoms, as well as much more information on COVID-19, visit the BC CDC COVID-19 web site at http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data
Staff with the Gabriola Medical Clinic said on Oct. 15 that COVID testing will not be done over the Oct. 15-17 weekend. Symptomatic people should call 811 and book in Nanaimo to be tested over the weekend. If anyone needs more information about what to do if they have come in to close contact with a COVID positive person they can visit www.bccdc.ca and follow the links for close contact information.
Because the Clinic has been doing COVID testing consistently throughout the pandemic, staff are going to be offering drive thru COVID testing – for symptomatic people or those contacted by Public Health – from 1:30-2:30 on Monday Oct. 18, after the Flu Clinic has finished.
The Clinic is switching over its entire computer system (starting Tuesday) and will be at at reduced hours and closed for training during the week. The Clinic staff will continue to offer COVID testing as best as they can, but if anyone can’t get a hold of staff during the times the clinic is, closed they are encouraged to call 811 and arrange testing in town.