Nanaimo District Secondary School. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo District Secondary School. (News Bulletin file)

More COVID-19 cases and clusters reported at Nanaimo schools

Additional cases reported at Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh and NDSS

More COVID-19 exposure is being reported at Nanaimo schools.

In a letter to Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School families, Snuneymuxw First Nation and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools said mobile COVID-19 testing conducted Thursday resulted in five new cases of COVID-19 found. The notification is not a cause for alarm, the letter stated, but identifying the “cases at an early stage is a good thing and exactly the strategy associated with swift and expedited mobile testing following significant exposure at [the school] last week. Contact tracing is being conducted, the letter said.

In addition, a social media post from the school district advised of an additional case at Nanaimo District Secondary, with potential exposure dates Jan. 27, 28 and Feb. 1 and 2. Island Health is conducting contact tracing, the district said.

Half a dozen Nanaimo schools have now had COVID-19 cases since the last week of January, with clusters of cases found at three schools.

Previously, Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district said there had been new COVID-19 cases found at NDSS and Brechin Elementary School, and additional cases found at John Barsby Secondary School and Bayview and Rock City elementaries.

Case counts at Rock City and Bayview elementaries and Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh schools are now classified as clusters of two or more cases.

Exposure dates and more information can be found at this link.

The B.C. Ministry of Education introduced stricter mask rules for schools on Thursday, with students now required to wear masks except when at their desks, when separated by a plexiglass barrier or when eating and drinking. For more, click here.

In a video posted online Friday, Feb. 5, SD68 superintendent Scott Saywell said safety of students is paramount and many of the new requirements are already part of staff’s routine. He understands concerns of families, but noted that public health officials say schools are the best place for students to learn and maintain emotional well-being.

“Schools mirror what’s happening in our communities and while that means we’ve seen school exposures, we’re still seeing lower transmission rates inside our schools,” said Saywell. “The safety of our students and staff will always remain a priority. We will continue to clean high-touch surfaces and use our disinfectant sprayer machines in every building in the district. This will continue for as long as required.”

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers’ union hopes for stricter mask rules in schools

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