Third school in British Columbia with COVID-19 outbreak: Surrey elementary school closes for two weeks

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A third school in British Columbia – and the second in the Lower Mainland – has been closed after a COVID-19 outbreak.

Fraser Health declared an outbreak at Newton Elementary School, located at 13359 81st Avenue in Surrey, on November 27.

At the time of the announcement, Fraser Health had confirmed 16 cases involved in the outbreak.

As a result, Fraser Health asked the school district to close the elementary school for a period of two weeks. The school will reopen on December 14.

Anyone in the school from November 16 to 27 must self-isolate for 14 days after the date of the visit.

Newton Elementary has already seen exhibition events from October 27-29; November 1; November 5 and 10; and November 16 and 23.

This is the third school in British Columbia to be closed due to an outbreak.

The province’s first school outbreak occurred at the School of Anse-au-sable in Kelowna in October.

Cambridge’s Second Primary School in Surrey, which closed on November 14 after an outbreak was declared involving seven cases.

In addition, three other schools – all located in the Lower Mainland – were closed due to clusters:

  • Jarvis Traditional Primary School in Delta, after a cluster of six cases;
  • Al-Hidayah I Schooln New Westminster, after a cluster of eight cases;
  • Abbotsford Christian School in Abbotsford, after an exhibition of six cases.

In British Columbia, a cluster in a school is defined as the presence of two or more cases in the school while an outbreak in a school is declared when generalized transmission occurs between groups of classes or groups learning and that the transmission chains remain undefined.

These are different from exhibition events, in which a case is present in a school. BC Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry explained once again during BC’s COVID-19 Update that school exposures rarely involve transmission and are rarely from child to child.

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