British Columbia

Kelowna school has first confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 in B.C. education system

B.C.'s first COVID-19 outbreak in the school system has been declared at École de l'Anse-au-sable in Kelowna, where three cases have been confirmed.

Students from kindergarten to Grade 3 asked to stay home after 3 cases confirmed

École de l’Anse-au-sable in Kelowna is the site of B.C.'s first COVID-19 outbreak in the school system. (Winston Szeto/CBC)

B.C.'s first COVID-19 outbreak in the school system has been declared at École de l'Anse-au-sable in Kelowna, where three cases have been confirmed.

Public health officials have told another 160 people associated with the school to self-isolate and watch for symptoms for 14 days, according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and deputy health minister Stephen Brown.

A letter from Interior Health to parents says that covers all students from kindergarten to Grade 3, as well as the staff who work with them.

Students and staff were exposed to the virus on Oct. 13, 14 and 15, according to the health authority's website.

In a media statement Wednesday, Interior Health said the exposures happened when "members of the school community mixed with select cohorts and one another, while others mixed during a break."

Parent Joline Bussiere, whose two younger children — aged six and eight — are now stuck at home self-isolating, said she's surprised it took so long for an outbreak to happen.

"Our school is relatively small, so it surprised me that it was our school," she told CBC.

"The protocols they have in place are the best they can be, but kids are kids and you can't really stop them from doing everything all the time."

Bussiere's older child, who is in Grade 4, is still attending class at the school, but has been told to monitor for symptoms.

She said the younger children are taking the disruption to their school year in stride, but they're sad they won't be able to wear their costumes to class for Halloween.

"I feel sorry for my kids because they miss their friends," Bussiere said. "It sucks that they can't be where they need to be."

With files from Tom Popyk

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