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Spring break may be over, but spring is here and we're happy to have students and teachers back in class!
With the increasing trend in community incidence of COVID-19 in the Surrey region and the corresponding likelihood of an increase of exposures in our schools, it's important that we all continue to follow the district's health & safety protocols, including daily health checks and following the new mask mandate for K-12 staff and Grade 4-12 students.
"Our schools have had a number of exposures that are community acquired, and that have not resulted in school-based transmission," explains Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. "This is a testament to the fact that our staff and students are protecting each other and following protocols consistent with public health guidelines and recommendations. It's important that we continue to stay vigilant as our teachers and support staff begin to get vaccinated, and we remind everyone to keep up the good work."
On March 18, the provincial health officer announced the decision to prioritize vaccinations for B.C.'s frontline workers, and soon after, Fraser Health provided access to vaccines for our K-12 school-based staff. This week, the PHO strengthened provincewide restrictions, including closing indoor dining at restaurants, cancelling indoor group exercise classes and temporarily suspending indoor religious gatherings and worship services.
While provincial restrictions allow physically distanced outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people at a park, beach or backyard, indoor and household restrictions remain in place. It is as important as ever that students limit social interactions to their cohort and immediate family, maintain physical distance from others outside their cohort and family, and frequently wash or sanitize their hands.
Surrey Schools has numerous resources on its COVID-19 information page, including regular video messages from Superintendent Jordan Tinney, health and safety resources, frequently asked questions, a recent video Q&A with Fraser Health's Medical Health Officer Dr. Ariella Zbar and an up-to-date tracker of active exposures at every school in the district.
Fraser Health's guidelines stress that it is important we all:
The district has also developed a quick and easy way to remind students on ways to stay safe:
We urge parents and students to continue to do daily health checks. Students should not attend school if they are sick, have travelled internationally in the last 14 days, or have been in contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19.
Outside of school, we continue to urge students to keep their social interactions to their immediate family and cohort. At this time, connecting virtually or by phone is the safest way to catch up with other friends and family members.
For more information and additional resources, visit surreyschools.ca/covid19 and fraserhealth.ca/covid19.