UPDATE: Coast Meridian Elementary School has reopened Thursday (March 12).
In a letter from Superintendent Jordan Tinney, he said a “member of the Coast Meridian Elementary School community had tested positive for COVID-19.”
As a result, the district chose to close the school and dispatch a “deep cleaning team” for a “full and thorough cleaning.”
Tinney said the entire site was disinfected, including “all high touch surfaces,” such as desks, chairs, light switches and door knobs.
He said the district realized the one-day closure “caused a disruption to many of you, but please be assured that the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority.”
Fraser Health Authority, according to Tinney, has “assessed the situation and assured us that the risk is low to our school community.”
When Tinney first issued the notice for the one-day closure, he said the district has been “unable, at this time, to confirm with the Health Authorities.” He said the district was first made aware of the case on Tuesday.
Tinney was expected to give a verbal report about COVID-19 at Wednesday’s board of education meeting. He would be discussing what has happened in the district to date and how staff have been responding.
Just this week, Fraser Health officials confirmed positive COVID-19 cases were connected to two other schools in the Surrey school district.
At Sullivan Heights Secondary (6248 144th St.), Fraser Health said that one of the cases is a “member” of the high school’s community.
“This person was asymptomatic during their time at the school; therefore, the risk to the school population is minimal,” the March 8 letter states. “There is no evidence that novel coronavirus is transmitted via asymptomatic individuals and the risk is low for the staff and students at Sullivan Heights.”
To be safe, the district “is enhancing cleaning protocols and reinforcing public health recommendations during daily morning announcements to the school community.”
The letter added that the “risk to the public is low and those who need to be aware of possible exposure have been contacted.”
Also on March 8, the district sent out a letter to parents at Serpentine Heights Elementary School advising that someone who was in the school as part of a community-use rental had since tested positive for COVID-19.
The letter from Tinney, he states Fraser Health had deemed the risk to the general school community and its members to be “low.”
Tinney said that “out of an abundance of caution,” the district “initiated a deep clean protocol” in the school over the weekend in preparation for classes on March 9. The district also postponed the community-use rental group “until further notice.”
All of this follows the district cancelling nine out of 16 international student trips in March. The trips, which would have been to Italy, Japan and France, would have either passed through the three countries or the entire trip would have been in one of the three countries.
Tinney said the district considered a “number of factors,” while also taking into account “the very real potential that staff and students may be quarantined, either overseas, or upon their return to Canada.”
– With files from Tracy Holmes