An assessment team is doing an evaluation of Cambridge Elementary in Surrey Thursday (Nov. 26) as the district prepares for its reopening next week.
Cambridge Elementary School is closed Nov. 14 until Nov. 30 following the outbreak announced earlier this month, and the school’s staff and students were sent for mass testing, along with self-isolation for two weeks.
Surrey school district Superintendent Jordan Tinney told the Now-Leader that an assessment team, comprised of Fraser Health and union representatives, would be at the elementary school Thursday (Nov. 26) at 10 a.m. “to do an evaluation of the school.”
In a letter from Cambridge’s Principal Ixchel Bradley, it states that the assessment “provides an opportunity for the health authority to learn about the practical reality of a school setting during this pandemic and howthe provincial guidelines are being implemented in an elementary school.”
Tinney said they will be looking at the school layout and its protocols, with a second review to come once everyone is back at school.
“That’s the most important first piece is to go in an assess, ‘OK, what happened at Cambridge and why is it different?’”
He pointed to Goldstone Park Elementary, which is in the neighbourhood.
Based on enrolment numbers provided by the district from September 2018, Cambridge had 728 students enrolled at school, while Goldstone Park had 732 students.
“It is basically the same size, in the same community, and I’m not sure they’ve had any exposures yet this year,” said Tinney.
As of Thursday morning (Nov. 26), based on exposure notices sent out by the school district and Fraser Health, Goldstone Park hasn’t had any exposure notices sent out yet.
“What’s the difference? Of course, we’re not blaming in any way,” he noted.
“We want to understand. What is it about what happened at Cambridge? Was it a unique situation linked to the community? Like, were kids carpooling after school and hanging out with each other after school and adults meeting after school? We just don’t know, but we want to find out.”
Fraser Health declared the outbreak at Cambridge on Nov. 14 after “seven COVID-19-positive cases were identified.” The school was ordered to close for two weeks “to break any chains of COVID-19 transmission that may be present at the school.”
In a letter from Tinney on Nov. 24, he said there had been several confirmed cases, “dating back to mid October.”
So far, Cambridge is the only school in the district to shut down.
However, there have been classrooms at three schools forced to self-isolate since the school year started on Sept. 10: Rosemary Heights Elementary, Cambridge Elementary and Tamanawis Secondary.