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Rise in COVID-19 cases at schools expected, Surrey superintendent says

Last Updated Sep 22, 2020 at 7:24 am PDT

FILE -- Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Surrey's superintendent says things will likely get worse before they get better as more COVID-19 exposures pop up

Surrey is leading the province when it comes to alerts at schools

Surrey Superintendent of Schools Jordan Tinney says he's confident in public health and they are in contact daily

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Several COVID -19 exposure alerts have now popped up in schools in New Westminster, but the Surrey district continues to lead the province when it comes to warnings.

Surrey Superintendent Jordan Tinney says so far, exposure alert letters have gone out 14 of the district’s public schools — but this was to be expected.

“When we have a school district with 75,000 students and 12,000 employees, there is going to be contact with our schools. We’re just so big,” Tinney says of the Surrey school district, the largest in the province.

He notes things will likely get worse before they get better, but that he feels the district is well equipped.

“This is just the beginning, and we’re going to have to figure out what this balance looks like. And if there was a need for more concern and more alarm, I feel completely confident that health would be giving us that advice and guidance,” he says in a video posted online.

“This is going to be our reality for several months ahead, and I know our early numbers are big and causing concern, but I want you to think about, this is just the beginning,” he adds.

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Tinney is once again urging people to stay home if they’re feeling unwell, and to adhere to safety guidelines, like following physical distancing and hygiene protocols.

His message to the Surrey Schools community comes after the province announced on Monday that a sore throat or runny nose have been removed from the list of symptoms for the student health checklist.

Tinney has been quick to share exposure alerts at schools within his district since students were welcomed back to classes earlier this month. His transparency and swiftness in sharing information with families has been applauded by some.

You can find a map of schools with exposure alerts here.