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Vancouver parents want transparency with online COVID-19 exposure updates

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Sep 21, 2020 at 5:06 pm PDT

FILE -- Personal protection equipment is seen on the teacher's desk in classroom in preparation for the new school year at the Willingdon Elementary School in Montreal, on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Some Vancouver parents are calling for COVID-19 school exposure information to be online quicker

There was a notification at Hastings Elementary School in Vancouver, but VCH didn't update online

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As COVID-19 exposures in B.C. schools are on the rise, some Vancouver parents say they want that information to be available online quicker.

This comes as Vancouver Coastal Health has notified parents over the weekend about an exposure at Hastings Elementary School in Vancouver. The website has yet to be updated with the same information.

Gordon Lau, Chair of the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC), a group that represents parents of children attending schools across Vancouver at the district level, says schools that are affected are being informed, but parents and the public as a whole would be better served with quicker updates as well.

RELATED: COVID-19 exposure alerts among Metro Vancouver schools rise as week two of classes begins

“I don’t have kids at Hastings. It doesn’t directly impact me. But in general, parents would feel better with more transparency all around whether or not their children are in the school. Again, parents expect the same level of transparency and up to dateness.”

Lau says posting it online in a timely manner lets parents know exactly what’s going in the community. “It tells you … okay this is the level of risk in our schools in general.”

“Parents would like to know how frequently this is happening in the area.”

On its website, VCH states if a child’s school does receive a notification of exposure, it doesn’t mean that they have been exposed to COVID-19.

Lau wants to understand why there are delays when other health authorities in the province seem to be providing updates online quicker.

“There certainly seems to be a difference in the notification times in Fraser (Health Authority) and the updates to their websites. It certainly seems like the speed and update of the website in Fraser is very quick,” Lau says.

“I’d like to believe that VCH would be able to do so in a timely manner, similar to the other health authorities. Parents across the area deserve an equal level of transparency.”

Just last week, the province announced health authorities would launch websites to notify parents of COVID-19 cases in B.C. schools.

NEWS 1130 has reached out to  Vancouver Coastal Health.

For a map with the latest COVID-19 exposures in B.C. schools, click here.

More back-to-school information during the pandemic can be found here.