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B.C. private school halts in-class instruction after COVID-19 case

Click to play video: 'Dr. Bonnie Henry on transmission of COVID-19 case linked to independent B.C. school' Dr. Bonnie Henry on transmission of COVID-19 case linked to independent B.C. school
B.C.'s top doctor Bonnie Henry shares details of a COVID-19 case linked to an adult at an independent school in the Fraser Valley. – Jun 18, 2020

An independent school in B.C.’s Fraser Health Region has halted in-class instruction for the rest of the year after a staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the staff member holds multiple roles at the school, including teaching, but that there was no documented contact with children.

READ MORE: 30% of B.C. students returned to class part-time last week, says education ministry

“Given we still have spread of COVID-19 in our communities, this is not surprising, and it is something that we were preparing for and monitoring as teachers and educators went back to in-classroom schooling,” said Henry.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Back to school plans' Coronavirus outbreak: Back to school plans
Coronavirus outbreak: Back to school plans – May 31, 2020

Fraser Health is currently investigating, and a “small number” of adult close contacts have been notified and are self-isolating, said Henry.

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Officials have not identified the school in question.

“We know that it’s less likely to be transmitted between children or from children to an adult, but we also know that adults can effectively transmit it to each other with mild symptoms,” said Henry.

However, she said the case does not change the province’s risk assessment or protocols regarding the virus in the school system.

READ MORE: Here’s how B.C. plans to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The Ministry of Education says about 30 per cent of B.C. students returned to classrooms part-time in the first week of June.

The province has implemented a number of precautions, including staggered breaks and pickup times, physical distancing markers and increased cleaning and hand hygiene protocols to try and limit the risk of viral transmission.

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