The Shuswap’s Ranchero Elementary is identified as having a potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
According to the Interior Health ‘School Exposures’ site, the potential exposure dates were Dec. 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18, the last week of school before the winter break.
Schools in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District are still on break, but the school’s website notes the school district has not had any communication from Interior Health (IH).
The school is, however, following established protocols. That means the health authority is performing contact tracing and will determine if anyone in the school community was in contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 while they were potentially infectious.
IH will also find out if anyone in the school community is a close contact who is required to self-isolate.
Principal Doug Cumming points out on the school website that only the health authority can determine who is a close contact.
“If you are contacted by Interior Health Authority, please follow their advice. If you are not contacted by Interior Health Authority, it has been determined that you (if you are a staff member) or your child (if you are a parent/guardian) is not at risk of developing COVID-19. Please note that if Interior Health contacts the school or school district, we will communicate any information we are asked to with personal privacy rights maintained.”
More information from Interior Health on how the notification process works can be found on the IH website.
“Although school is currently dismissed for Winter Break, Ranchero Elementary and School District Number 83 will continue to implement health and safety protocols and procedures so students and staff may return to school as safely as possible on January 4, 2021,” stated Cumming on the website.
IH responded to an email from the Observer: “While we are seeing cases in schools, transmission is not happening within the schools themselves thanks to the controlled environments and precautions that are in place. This shows us the plan is working and the majority of students continue to get the education they need in a safe environment.”