Staff at Meadowridge School have established an isolation room. (Google maps)

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District reminds parents to be careful this Spring Break amid COVID-19 fears

Health care services may be limited and travel restrictions put in place suddenly, warns the district

As families head into Spring Break, the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district superintendent sent out a reminder about international travel amidst the continuing COVID-19 outbreak.

In the letter posted to the school district website on Wednesday, Sylvia Russell highlighted warnings by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, such as, monitoring the Government of Canada travel site for the latest travel advisories if anyone is planning an international trip and to keep in mind the availability of health care services in the areas they are planning to travel to.

“Health care services in some areas may be limited and travel restrictions may be put in place suddenly,” wrote Russell in the letter posted to the school district website on March 10.

She also stressed the importance of registering with the Government of Canada before travelling, a free service that enables travellers to receive important information before or during a natural disaster, civil unrest and also allows the government to notify a person in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home.

READ MORE: Cities, school district readying for COVID-19

Seven new cases of COVID-19 was announced on March 11 by Dr. Henry and the Minister of Health Adrian Dix, bringing the total to 46 of those infected with the virus in the province.

“We have seen an increase in community cases in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley in recent days, where the source of the virus infection is not yet known,” said the pair in a joint statement.

On Wednesday three schools – two in Vancouver and one in Surrey – closed their doors to students because of possible COVID-19 concerns. On Monday a school on the North Shore was closed for the week.

In an abundance of caution, staff at Meadowridge School have established an isolation room in case a student complains of being ill while in class.

“We’ve established a room where they could be isolated from the other kids with a separate washroom and fully monitored so that we can establish the kind of care that we want,” said headmaster Hugh Burke.

RELATED: COVID-19: Six handwashing mistakes to avoid

“In most cases it will be fine and again it’s in the abundance of caution,” he said.

Burke said his school is doing more or less what the public system is doing. He said they had to cancel three school trips – one to France, one to Spain and one to Florida – because they could not predict what the travel arrangements might be or whether the children might have to go into quarantine.

They are reminding students to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer, if necessary and to stop shaking hands.

Burke said they have had some families, in an abundance of caution, keep their kids home for a while, but that they had travelled much earlier. No one, he said, has displayed any symptoms.

They have had to cancel a gala and postpone a student organized charitable event in support of the SPCA, that would have had about 100 attendees.

Exams are not being postponed, said Burke, adding that exams are worldwide for the International Baccalaureate Continuum World School, and they will continue to operate with the IB.

“The public and independent schools will be behaving very similar because we are taking instruction from the public health officer and from the Ministry of Education. So everything we do should be coordinated and should lead to a sense of calm and a sense of care for the children, which is really important,” said Burke.

But, he said, if the spread of the virus keeps up for another month, they will be looking at trying to keep people a couple of feet apart, maybe even moving desks a bit farther apart.

“You have to plan for it, whether it happens or not, you have to plan for it.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Spike of bear calls to Conservation Officer Service prompts calls for prevention

‘We want to do everything we can beforehand to reduce conflict,’ said Sgt. Todd Hunter

Pitt Meadows mayor responds to petition to halt development of North Lougheed Study Area

A petition with 628 signatures was put before city council on Tuesday evening

Searching for isolated seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows with music and dance

Seniors outreach team at Ridge Meadows Seniors Society came up with a pop up jukebox

Fraser North Farmers Market moves to online model for summer season amid COVID-19

Customers can order products online and pick up at Golden Meadows Honey Farm on Saturdays

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read