A list of SD42 schools with exposure events, and the dates of exposure, posted by Fraser Health on Friday. In the list of independent schools were Meadowridge and St. Patrick’s.

A list of SD42 schools with exposure events, and the dates of exposure, posted by Fraser Health on Friday. In the list of independent schools were Meadowridge and St. Patrick’s.

More Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows schools have exposure events

Parents waiting for age 5-11 vaccination approval

The BC School COVID Tracker social media team added 70 schools it its list of those that have had exposure events on Thursday, and seven of those were from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Fraser Health is reporting that there are 15 schools from School District 42 and another two independent schools in Maple Ridge with exposures to the virus. It’s the first time the health authority has reported so many cases at once.

Exposure events can mean a single case, or they could be multiple cases in more than one classrooms. Even the latter situation is not always classified as an outbreak by Fraser Health.

Dania Sergant, president of the SD42 District Parent Advisory Council was aware of the increased incidence, but said her council is not hearing an outcry from parents. She said most parents see vaccination approval for younger children as part of the solution.

“A lot of parents are waiting for age 5-11 to be approved for vaccination,” she said. “It will probably make a difference.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19 vaccine registration open for kids aged 5-11, say B.C. health officials

U.S. children were approved for vaccination on Tuesday. B.C. children in that age group can be register for vaccination, but the province still awaits approval for vaccination from Health Canada.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 cases in B.C. kids under 12 have peaked, in decline

This week, Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry noted there have been no hospitalizations of fully vaccinated teens aged 12-17 since July. Since the start of the pandemic, 56 children in that age group required hospitalization for COVID-19, and four required critical care.

Sargant also believes parents are getting numbed to COVID-19 cases among children. It doesn’t inspire panic.

“I don’t think anyone is surprised anymore – it’s not as shocking or upsetting as it used to be,” she said.

And, she said most parents are satisfied that Fraser Health will inform parents who need to get their kids tested, or have them self isolate. Parents get the bad news about exposure events when it is important for them, she asserts.

“If you need to know, you know.”

School district spokesperson Irena Pochop said the district office is seeing fewer notifications overall at secondary – far calmer this year than last – but has seen an increase in exposure notifications at the elementary level in the past week.

“Last year we received a fair number of self-isolation notices for staff, but that is not the case this year,” she said. “Our schools are able to operate normally.”

In cases where one or more clusters are identified in an elementary school, Fraser Health recommends additional enhanced preventive measures. These can include moving PE outside where possible, not holding assemblies, not combining classes (platooning) and others.

“In such cases, we would provide the school community with a letter advising that Fraser Health has identified a cluster and listing the enhanced measures that are being added,” said Pochop. “We have issued such a letter to two of our elementary schools this school year.”

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