FRASER Health announced on Saturday that in response to feedback it has received from schools and parents in its communities, it has enhanced the way it notifies staff and parents when a COVID-19 exposure occurs at a school. With the support of school districts and schools, it has streamlined its assessment and notification process to help reduce anxiety for the school community, and provide timely and clear actions to impacted individuals.
Until now, staff and parents at a school with a COVID-19 exposure received a general early notification letter asking them to monitor for symptoms. Fraser Health Public Health would then follow up to provide impacted cohorts and individuals with further instruction as needed.
Moving forward, Fraser Health said it is improving the way it works with each school district and schools to more quickly determine who may have been exposed. Based on this information, school administrators will now distribute three types of letters to their school community that include a preliminary assessment of the individual’s exposure based on administrative and cohort (class) schedules. These letters provide targeted information to recipients on what actions they should follow.
An individual may receive one of three letters, including:
1. Early notification letter – exposed: This letter will be shared with individuals, cohorts and class(es) who have been assessed to have potentially been exposed a person with COVID-19. The letter will provide them with instructions to continue to come to school and to monitor for symptoms daily.
2. Early notification letter – not exposed: This letter will be provided to individuals, cohorts and class(es) not exposed at the school. These individuals may have been at the school during this time; however, the exposure did not take place in their cohort or class(es).
3. Early notification letter – general: This letter will be shared with individuals who are not part of a specific class or cohort, such as a school counsellor, who may or may not have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 and provide them with instructions.
These letters will be shared while contact tracing by Fraser Health is underway with the COVID-19 positive individual and their close contacts. If any further follow-up is required, Fraser Health will contact the impacted individual(s) with additional direction.
Once contract tracing is complete, Fraser Health will issue a School Bulletin to inform the entire school community that all contact tracing linked to the positive case has completed.
Fraser Health has added resources over the past month in order to optimize the time between when it receives a positive test result from the lab and the school receiving an early notification. While it does take time for a person to develop symptoms, realize they are sick, get tested, receive their results and then for assessment and notification of a school exposure to take place, this change will allow Fraser Health to provide tailored notifications more quickly to impacted individuals. Fraser Health is asking all symptomatic staff and students to get tested as early as possible, even with mild symptoms, so that it has the results as soon as possible and can take action. People living in the Fraser Health region can find information about test collection centres by visiting Fraser Health’s website.
To book a COVID-19 testing appointment, complete a COVID-19 test booking form.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit fraserhealth.ca/covid19.