On Friday, April 30, the BCCDC finally updated their pandemic information to include a recognition that COVID-19 is spread in aerosolized particles. This means ventilation, reduced density and masks are more important than surface cleaning in the prevention of its spread. Now we are anxious to see if there will be any change in recommendations for the safe operation of schools. Students need to sit right next to each other. Not every classroom has windows, or windows that open, and not every building has MERV 13 filters in the HVAC system.

On Thursday, 6 May, The Vancouver Sun released data tables and graphs leaked to them from the BC Centre for Disease Control. They reveal what we have seen happening in our schools: out of control COVID-19 cases in some parts of Surrey. Since Feb 7, (as of May 7) Surrey has reported 144 whole classes and 2733 other individuals (staff and students) have been sent into self-isolation because of exposures or cases. Of these, 1768 are Elementary, 961 are Secondary and 40 others. In April, only 15 elementary schools and 2 Learning Centers have NOT received any letters reporting exposures.

On Monday, May 10, a document Fraser Health sent to Superintendents in the Fraser Health region was being discussed across social media. Titled COVID-19 school cluster and transmission analysis, the document provided more confirmation of the student-to-student transmission that teachers have always maintained was happening.

Also on Monday, an STA Press Release focused on the situation in schools in the northwest quadrant of Surrey, calling for a mask mandate and lower density in the 26 schools in the area of Surrey that’s had above 20% positivity in Covid tests. On Tuesday 11 May, Jordan Tinney confirmed that there have been about almost 1500 COVID-19 exposure letters sent out this school year. These letters can be confusing because sometimes if a letter is issued for a certain school for a certain period of exposure, and then another exposure takes place in the same time period, another letter is not issued. This feels like a suppression of information, possibly to minimize the alarm of the school community.

The best news is that most teachers who want to be vaccinated have been and that there is currently a determined effort to get every single education worker in the District who wants a vaccine to get one.

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