SURREY (NEWS 1130) – As Cambridge Elementary reopens on Monday after a two-week COVID-19-related closure, the health authority is urging parents to send their kids to school.
Saying it continues to monitor the school for new cases, Fraser Health says “the necessary steps to protect the school community” have been taken.
“Please continue to send your child to school. There is no longer direct exposure risk as the person with COVID-19 is now in isolation at home,” a letter to families from Fraser Health reads.CAMBRIDGE_FOLLOW UP LETTER (002)
However, many parents are still fearful and have decided their kids will stay at home on reopening day.
Michelle Addison is one of them. She says schools were opened in September with a safety plan, but by November, the school was already closed.
“So, what changes are being made to the first safety plan to enhance it to ensure this doesn’t happen again? We don’t have that information yet,” she tells NEWS 1130, adding she believes other parents are feeling concerned, too.
“I would say in my friend group, it’s a real mixed bag. But, certainly, the majority are saying, ‘Not going back to school the first day back.’ I’ve had a couple of them say let’s wait a week and see what actually changed. I think that’s why most people, that aren’t sending their children, are hesitant.”
She says despite the two-week closure of Cambridge Elementary and a few other details, parents haven’t been given much information.
“We were told that through the testing that happened at our school — because during the shutdown, they said to everybody to go and get tested — it looks like there was about a three per cent outbreak,” Addison tells NEWS 1130, adding the figure translated to about 25 cases, at least.Cambridge Elementary School Re-Start Letter_Nov2020 FINAL
Students are returning to Cambridge for a shortened day, with staggered break times.
However, Addison wonders what precautions are in place for teachers who see multiple classes.
“How are we doing these programs, such as music like Mrs. Lourenco’s, or band or library? Those teachers and those rooms currently have the 500-700 children going through them in a week,” she says.
With 12 portables at the school, Addison says she has concerns about how students and teachers will be able to keep their hands clean in those classrooms, since most don’t have running water.
Cambridge Elementary was the first school in B.C. to be ordered to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Newton Elementary was the second to be shut down by Fraser Health.