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COVID-19: Chase Secondary School in Chase, B.C. closes doors as staffing levels fall

FILE. Empty hallway. CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Another Southern Interior school closed its doors to in-person learning this week after staffing levels fell below operational levels.

Chase Secondary School in Chase, B.C., closed Tuesday, principal Greg Gartrell said in a letter posted to the school’s website after staffing levels fell too far.  It will return to regular face-to-face classes Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.

“As set out in our Continuity of Learning Plan, we expect to have enough staff to continue to offer programming in school face-to-face for the remainder of this week. If, for any reason, there is a change in circumstances, I will let you know,” Gartress said.

“Students should stay home from school if they are not feeling well and have symptoms as outlined in the daily health check.”

Read more: Armstrong, B.C. teachers cite unsafe work conditions as 15% of students stop wearing masks

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It’s the third school in the Interior Health region to have closed due to staffing levels and illness.

Armstrong Elementary posted to its website on Friday that two staff members, an education assistant and a teacher had tested positive.

Then, on Sunday, the school announced a third staff member had tested positive for the virus.

Dates of possible exposures are listed on the school’s website.

Read more: B.C. COVID-19 — Hospitalization rates still soaring, risk growing for unvaccinated

Prior to the case notifications, the North Okanagan – Shuswap School District announced a two-day functional closure at the school for Friday and Monday.

The short-term closure came after the teachers’ union told the school district that working conditions were unsafe at the school due to the number of students not wearing masks.

It’s not the first time a situation of this kind has occurred within the district. The union said that teachers at Ranchero Elementary School in Salmon Arm sent an unsafe work notice before winter break. Teachers there are working while the process continues.

Kindergarten to Grade 12 students, staff and visitors are required to wear masks in all indoor areas, including at desks and on school buses.

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In response to the Omicron variant, the provincial government announced, in early January, it wouldn’t be notifying students and parents about individual cases.

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