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105 COVID-19 exposures and counting at Tri-City schools

Minnekhada middle school in Port Coquitlam, with exposure dates of Jan. 14,15, the latest school to be flagged by Fraser Health for a coronavirus exposure
Minnekhada photo
Minnekhada middle school in Port Coquitlam is the latest school flagged for a COVID-19 exposure.

More than 100 COVID-19 exposures have occurred at Coquitlam area schools since the start of school in September, 2020 with Minnekhada middle in Port Coquitlam being the latest to be flagged for coronavirus.

The school, located at 1390 Laurier Ave., had someone test positive on the school grounds on Jan. 14 and 15, according to Fraser Health.

Letters have gone out to parents letting them know about the exposure — a process that has been taking place a few times a week in School District 43 schools since the beginning of September, when students headed back to classroom.

In a report to the board of education this week, officials listed as many as 103 exposures in SD43 schools since school began in September, 2021 up until Jan. 12 when Harbour View elementary was flagged with an exposure.

Since then, two more schools have been identified by the health authority as having a coronavirus exposure: Nestor elementary in Coquitlam, for Jan. 12, 13 and 14, and Minnekhada for the two dates last week.

In its report to be reviewed at a board meeting today, officials note that the district plays a small part in the communication of school exposures, noting that Fraser Health is the responsible authority.

However, the district does contact school staff, hold meetings to review the exposure, notify itinerant, casual staff and visitors, teacher, support worker and parent groups and post information on social media. Extra staff is deployed to the site as required and the district also notifies rental groups as well as the ministry of education.

Notably, the district has a number of machines and staff responsible for extra cleaning, including four teams and four deep cleaning machines available.

Still, some educators are concerned about the potential for the spread of COVID-19.

The Coquitlam Teachers Association signed a letter asking for mandatory masks, fewer students in a class at any one time and priority access to vaccines when more become available to the public.