SURREY (NEWS 1130) — The first B.C. school forced to close due to COVID-19 is putting a lot of strain on parents and families, with many who feared this day was fast approaching.
This weekend, Surrey School District Superintendent Jordan Tinney confirmed Cambridge Elementary will be shut down for two weeks after Fraser Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak.
“All staff and students that have been onsite at Cambridge Elementary between November 2 and November 13 to self-isolate for 14 days from the last date you were onsite. Fraser Health is also advising these staff and students to get tested for COVID-19,” reads a letter from superintendent Jordan Tinney sent Sunday.
Letter for Cambridge Elementary community. One of three letters related to @Fraserhealth declaration of outbreak. Closure until Nov. 30th, mass testing, and this letter for students/staff to self-isolate. #sd36learn #surreybc @CityofSurrey pic.twitter.com/sFqEpmInPh
— Jordan Tinney (@jordantinney) November 16, 2020
One parent at the elementary school, Michelle Addison, says she agrees the shutdown is unfortunate, but it seemed closure was the only option in light of all the alerts.
“You get one notice one week, and you don’t have anything for a couple of weeks. And then all of a sudden we were getting formal notices,” Addison tells NEWS 1130.
“But we also were using a parent Facebook page that we have. Parents were self-identifying [if their] child tested positive because they wanted their classmates to know so that you were aware that you might have been exposed earlier because the contact tracing is taking so long.”
Addison says she understands the dangers of sharing private health information but in this case, she thinks it’s the right thing to do.
“The system is overwhelmed in every way that you look at it.”
The parent adds that it’s been an especially tough week for the community as Cambridge Elementary is the same school where the condition of a respected music teacher infected with COVID-19 has worsened.
“The week started with fear and worry over her because she is just one of the most beautiful people that you will meet. Our kids are going to remember her when they’re in high school. So hearing now that they’ve closed the school, I think we all have just got a sense of relief,” she says.
Since the teacher, Darlene Lourenco’s condition has worsened, she has been moved to the intensive care unit.
A GoFundMe page set up in support of Lourenco has raised over $26,000 as of Sunday morning.
The school will be closed until Nov. 30.
Two other schools in the Fraser Health region, Jarvis Elementary School in Delta and the other an independent school at Al-Hidayah School in New Westminster are also closing for two weeks, but voluntarily due to staffing issues as both deal with a cluster of cases.
– With files from Paul James