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Graduation events curtailed as nearly half of Coquitlam area high schools hit with COVID-19 exposures

As B.C. monitors Delta variant hitting teens hard in the U.K., small pockets of COVID-19 remain in Tri-City high schools; But with half of teens already vaccinated, provincial health officer less worried about variant spread
Riverside secondary in Port Coquitlam has been flagged for COVID-19 on June 9, 10 and 11.

Loosened provincial health restrictions will not open up grad events for Tri-City high school students, warns School District 43 (SD43).

Under the recently-announced Phase 2 re-opening for B.C., the limit on outdoor personal gatherings — including birthday parties, backyard barbecues and block parties — is increasing to 50 people. 

But the cap on indoor personal gatherings will remain at five people or one other household, and large graduation events are prohibited.

The information comes as nearly half of all SD43 secondary schools have had a COVID-19 exposure in recent days.

In a report for tonight’s board of education meeting, school officials confirm that previously issued kindergarten to Grade 12 guidance on COVID-19 protocols must be followed.

“Graduation events, leaving ceremonies and all school-sponsored events {held on or off school grounds) must continue to follow the previously issued K-12 guidance. Recognition events will proceed as planned under the guidelines already shared with school administration and communities,” the report to the board states.

In response to the continued pandemic, many high schools in the Tri-Cities are holding drive-thru or virtual events.

Meanwhile, Coquitlam area schools continue to grapple with school exposures but in significantly lower numbers due to ongoing vaccination efforts.

Still, secondary schools are among those hardest hit with Fraser Health sending exposure notices to five high school communities in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.

And, in the month of May through to June 8, there were 70 exposure events at schools with some schools hit on multiple dates, according to SD43 data.


As of this week, 10 Coquitlam area schools, including an independent school, have been flagged for exposures, according to data from Fraser Health and the BC School COVID-19 Tracker.

Exposure notices have been sent to three school communities with cases over the last few days, including:


  • Dr. Charles Best Secondary: June 11
  • Scott Creek Middle: June 1, 2 and 7

Port Coquitlam

  • Riverside Secondary: June 9, 10 and 11

As well, earlier exposure dates noted on the Fraser Health school website include:


  • Centennial Secondary: June 4
  • Rochester Elementary: June 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • Lord Baden Powell Elementary: June 2

Port Coquitlam

  • Terry Fox Secondary: June 1 and 4
  • Kwayhquitlum Middle: June 1
  • Irvine Elementary: June 1 and 2
  • Archbishop Carney (Independent): June 1, 2 and 3

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that B.C. is monitoring the new Delta variant that originated in India, especially as it has been declared by U.K. health authorities as 64% more transmissible in homes than other viruses.


Henry acknowledged that a lot of transmissions in the U.K. are among people in their teens, and 20s and 30s. 

“We have very high vaccination rates, even in young people,” she said Monday, noting that B.C. is in a different position than the U.K.

Statistics that Henry provided last week show that about half of all British Columbians aged 12 through 19 had received at least one dose of vaccine as of June 9.

The variants of concern are thought to either transmit more readily, cause more severe illness or have comparatively more resistance to vaccines: 

  • Delta variant only accounted for 4% of VOC on May 30, Henry said last week. 
  • Alpha variant, which was first discovered in the U.K., accounted for 54% of all new VOC in B.C. at the end of May. 
  • Gamma variant, which was first discovered in Brazil, was responsible for 42% of new cases 
  • Beta variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, was responsible for less than 1% of new COVID-19 cases in B.C. at the end of May.


Meanwhile, Fraser Health has launched a campaign to accelerate second doses as more vaccine becomes available.

If you still need a first COVID-19 vaccine dose, you can register now on the provincial Get Vaccinated system to get an email, text message or phone call when you can book your appointment.

If you want to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) for your second dose, register now if you have not already. This includes those who received AstraZeneca for their first dose.

If you have already registered, you will be notified by email, text or phone call when it's your turn to book an appointment for your second dose. 

You may not have registered through the provincial Get Vaccinated registration system if:

  • You are a senior or Indigenous person who booked through Fraser Health before April 6
  • You registered for a first dose of AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD directly through your local pharmacy only
  • You got your first dose at a workplace clinic, community outreach clinic or a whole of community clinic
  • You are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • You are a frontline worker who got your first dose with the priority populations program

If you have questions or aren't sure if you are registered, phone the call centre at 1-833-838-2323, seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (PDT). Translators are available if you wish to speak in your preferred language.

- with files from Glen Korstrom, Business In Vancouver