Island Health has identified three schools in the Cowichan Valley as having clusters of COVID-19 cases.
Clusters are defined by Island Health as having “two or more confirmed cases within a 14-day period, with evidence of transmission occuring within the school”.
As of Friday morning, Sept. 24, clusters had been declared at École Mount Prevost Elementary in Duncan, Tansor Elementary in Duncan and Discovery Elementary in Shawnigan Lake. Island Health has not specified exactly how many cases are in each school.
Health officials in B.C. have said they will begin to report COVID-19 numbers for schools in the province, after outcry from parents and teachers wanting the information. Up until now, they have only been putting out notifications for outbreaks or clusters.
Since school started the independently operated BC School Covid Tracker has been the best source of publicly available information for COVID-19 cases within school communities, and the Tracker listed 12 schools in the Cowichan Valley School District that had reported cases within their communities since school began this month. These schools include Bench Elementary, Frances Kelsey Secondary, Cowichan Secondary, Drinkwater Elemenatry, Quamichan School, Lake Cowichan School, Queen of Angels School, Khowhemun Elementary, Alex Aitken Elementary, and all three of the schools now declared to have clusters.
A case in a school community does not necessarily mean that an infected person has been to the school but that staff or students or even a visitor has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Students in School District 79 are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated for COVID-19 if they are eligible. All students in grades 4-12 are required to wear masks at school.