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West Vancouver parents demanding additional safety for students in schools

Last Updated Oct 7, 2020 at 9:21 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

Concerned parents have penned an open letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry demanding additional safety for students in schools

Parents of children at West Vancouver's Caulfield Elementary say the province needs to speed up contact tracing

So far hundreds of parents from across Metro Vancouver have signed in support of the letter

WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Parents in West Vancouver are demanding more transparency and additional steps to help keep kids safe in school.

Parents from Caulfield Elementary say they’ve had enough after two events were held last month that may have led to several cases of COVID-19.

They’ve now penned an open letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry, asking her and the province to look at requiring any student who may have been exposed to the virus to immediately self-isolate.

Coralynn Gehl is a parent at the school and says when it comes to keeping students safe, additional steps need to be taken now, including requiring anyone who may have been exposed to the virus to immediately self-isolate.

“As soon as a positive test is registered, we want to see the entire cohort notified and sent home until the health authorities can do contact tracing. That makes more sense for them to go home and self-isolate until it’s safe for them to go back to school.”

Parents are also asking for siblings of these students to be required to stay at home as well.

“Children play closer together, they interact far more closely with each other on a regular basis throughout the day then adults do. So, it makes sense that a child who needs to stay home from school because they’re in close contact, their siblings need to as well.”

She says parents often feel out of the loop when it comes to having information about new cases of the virus at their children’s schools.

“The other thing we’re concerned about is the fact that we’re not being told how many kids in school have been tested positive for COVID. When you look on the Vancouver Coastal Health website it shows the two exposures for Caulfield elementary, that does not reflect the fact that there are 10 positive cases at the school,” she says. “And, as a parent, when I’m deciding whether or not I feel it’s safe to send my child to school, the difference between two positives and 10 positive tests is pretty bad.”

Gehl adds some parents have moved online, and shared information with each other about various cases at schools.

“Absolutely information is being spread that way and quite honestly that’s the only reason I’m feeling confident personally sending my child to school right now, because I know that there’s a tight knit community that is sharing positive results. I’m an administrator of a Facebook group for the North Shore where people are sharing their positive tests and information, it’s a full-time job for me right now managing this. Every day I remind myself this is not my job. It’s someone else’s job to make people feel safe sending their kids to school and to share information.”

So far hundreds of parents have supported the online letter.