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West Vancouver teacher who got COVID-19 first to file WorkSafeBC complaint

Last Updated Sep 22, 2020 at 3:31 pm PST

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Summary

A West Vancouver teacher who contracted COVID-19  is the first to file a complaint with WorkSafeBC

The teacher at Sentinel secondary in West Vancouver wasn't told about a suspected COVID-19 exposure: union

Eight students from that cohort are now in isolation. says teachers union

WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A West Vancouver teacher who contracted COVID-19 is the first to file a complaint with WorkSafeBC, saying they weren’t told one of their students had tested positive for the virus.

The teacher at Sentinel Secondary alleges they weren’t told about a potential COVID-19 exposure involving a student in the same cohort group, according to Renee Willock, head of the West Vancouver Teachers’ Association. The teacher tested positive for the virus two days after the student did, she added.

Eight students from that cohort are now in isolation, Willock said.


“We find out now that a teacher discovers that they were exposed to a case in their cohort from their students — their students were the one notifying them, not the health authority, because the health authority didn’t include the teacher in the contact tracing,” she said.

Willock said the main concern from teachers is that contact tracing is too narrow. She added the lack of transparency of exposures at schools from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority is also increasing anxiety among teachers.

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“Possible exposure in our school community, that doesn’t tell you what cohort it was in. It doesn’t tell you anything. So the teacher had expected the health authority would contact her and they didn’t,” she said. “We believed that cohorts were going to allow for contact tracing that would be efficient and they would be isolating. We thought that if a student in a cohort tested positive that the whole cohort, including the teacher, would go into isolation.”

The WorkSafe claim comes as notifications of possible COVID-19 exposures in schools mount, with more than 30 in B.C. so far.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the case involving the Sentinel teacher is being investigated.

To date, no there has been no known transmission of COVID-19 in B.C. schools.