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Parent concerns grow as cases of COVID-19 climb at Kelowna Secondary School

Click to play video: '“They are not really addressing the situation at KSS as seriously as it is,” parents grow increasingly concerned as more COVID cases are announced at Kelowna Secondary School.' “They are not really addressing the situation at KSS as seriously as it is,” parents grow increasingly concerned as more COVID cases are announced at Kelowna Secondary School.
“They are not really addressing the situation at KSS as seriously as it is,” parents grow increasingly concerned as more COVID cases are announced at Kelowna Secondary School – Nov 16, 2020

Kelowna Secondary School (KSS) continues to see a growing number of cases of COVID-19.

The first case at the Central Okanagan’s largest highschool was first announced at the end of October and since there have been multiple cases including the most recent two declared over the weekend.

“I know personally of people who have children that have tested positive and have multiple people in their friend’s circle that have also tested positive that attend the school,” said Roberta, a parent of a student at KSS, who didn’t want her full name used for fear of any repercussions involving her son.

Read more: COVID-19-stricken B.C. school ‘should have been closed a week ago,’ say parents

The Interior Health Authority (IHA) issued two news releases Sunday declaring the two most recent cases.

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“It appears to me that they are not really addressing the situation at KSS as seriously as it is, ” Roberta told Global News.

The concerned parent said she’s now scared to send her son to school.

“They are at an age where…many of them don’t care. A lot of them don’t take it seriously,” she said. “Many of them don’t wear their masks when they’re supposed to. I know for sure there’s overcrowding in the school buses.”

With roughly 2,000 students and staff members at KSS, Roberta said it’s not possible for everyone to be properly spaced out

“It’s a small little village or city within a building and they’re not social distanced enough,” she said.

She said the public is getting mixed messages on safety protocols.

“It’s a double edge sword. We are told in restaurants we can’t sit together. We’re told in workplaces…you can’t have a staff meeting with 12 people like how can you have a classroom with 30-plus kids of a building with over 2,000 kids and administrators.”

She’s also questioning why, with multiple cases at the school, an outbreak hasn’t been declared.

“You hear of the other schools, where they had maybe five or seven cases and then they considered that an outbreak, the French school in particular that they closed down for a short period of time. You hear in senior’s homes. where there is one or two cases, they call that an outbreak,” she said.

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Read more: Three Lower Mainland schools closed for 2 weeks amid COVID-19 transmission

IHA said that an outbreak would only be declared if the virus was being transferred from person to person within the school. It added that at this point, there’s no evidence of that.

But Roberta said she find that hard to believe.

“They keep saying there’s no community transmission within the school is what we keep hearing,” she said. “But I’m starting to really doubt that because there’s so many cases popping up. How can this not be spreading amongst kids to each other.”

She’s also upset at the little information that’s being released by Interior Health, including the exact number of positive cases at the school.

“We should be told more, like is it a staff member, is it a student, what grade level, so as parents, we can make the choice to send our child to school or not,” she said.

But IHA said unless there is an outbreak, it will not identify case numbers in real time saying “indicating the number of cases at a specific school often leads to assumptions about people’s health that infringes on their privacy”.

Roberta however, said privacy can still be protected while keeping people better informed.

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“I don’t know why they are keeping that from us. I’m sure they are trying to prevent mass chaos, but at this point we are going in the wrong direction so we have to do something,” she said.

IHA will also not reveal how many people within the KSS communtiy have had to self-isolate as a result of the positive cases.

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