School District 23 (SD23) is confident they are doing everything they can do to reduce the number of COVID-19 transmissions within their schools. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

School District 23 (SD23) is confident they are doing everything they can do to reduce the number of COVID-19 transmissions within their schools. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

‘Schools are safe’: Okanagan school district doing everything it can to curb virus

SD23 superintendent Kevin Kaardal stressed schools are safe

School District 23 (SD23) is confident they are doing everything they can do to reduce the number of COVID-19 transmissions within their schools.

SD23 superintendent Kevin Kaardal stressed schools are safe.

“We really care about your kids, and we care about our staff, and we’re doing everything that we can to reduce the risk of transmission.”

Almost daily, new cases are announced at schools in SD23. At Kelowna Secondary School (KSS), a number of exposures have been announced in the past few weeks.

READ MORE: COVID-19 case confirmed at Kelowna Secondary School

READ MORE: Another unrelated COVID-19 case confirmed at Kelowna Secondary School

Kaardal stressed the cases at the schools have been a result of non-symptomatic individuals entering the schools and transmitting the virus.

Those infected so far, he said, have been both staff and students.

In some cases, numerous individuals have entered into self-isolation. Kaardal again stressed this has been out of an abundance of caution.

He said they have not encountered an individual who came to school sick, knowing they were sick.

“People have been really careful to not come to school sick, whether staff or students,” he said, adding that as soon as individuals have symptoms, they are getting tested.

He acknowledged it seems as though there are many cases at KSS, however, compared to the roughly 2000 students at the school, he said the number of cases are below one per cent. He said their case numbers are simply reflecting the numbers occurring in the community.

He is encouraged by the fact Interior Health region is not experiencing the same numbers of COVID-19 cases seen in the Lower Mainland. He’s also encouraged by conversations with local health officers.

“Medical (Interior Health) health officers continue to tell me they are very pleased regarding the fact there doesn’t seem to be transmission in schools, and if there is, it’s very minimal and being caught by the protocols we have in place to reduce that risk.”

He said it’s important for kids to attend school.

“I think the really important message is that schools are really important for kids, for their academic development, mental and social health,” Kaardal said.

“The risks of not having school far outweigh the current experience we’re having in schools.”

Kaardal acknowledged there’s fear in the community.

“We always know there will be anxiety and fear in these circumstances and it’s quite understandable, and we encourage people to contact their principals and have a conversation.”

There, principals can share with community members SD23’s ‘robust and layered’ plan to keep students and staff safe while learning.

“If there’s worry, then I think you need to do your part to close down your bubble, and let’s get this under control in the community,” he said.

“All of us have our personal responsibility to follow the directions of Bonnie Henry, reduce our bubbles, stop social activities outside… let’s get this curve flattened. A safe community means safer schools.”

READ MORE: Rapid transit could be on the horizon for the Central Okanagan

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton Curling Club ice
Penticton Curling Club COVID cases increase

“Our hearts are with our members who are sick right now”

Mandatory masks has caused a division of opinion and increased hostility by the anti-mask movement. (Western News file photo)
OPINION: ‘I wear a mask for people like this daughter who hasn’t seen her mom since February’

‘Her story broke me…maybe because I had just watched protesters laughing in their unmasked revelry’

Steve French caught the halo moon on his camera on Saturday night. (Steve French Facebook)
Did you see the halo moon last night?

The halo is actually millions of tiny ice crystals

Movie crews filmed a holiday parade in Summerland in July. The parade, filmed on Main Street in Summerland, is for the movie, The Christmas Yule Blog. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Richard Brodeur discussing his paintings with the executive director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan Kirsteen McCulloch. (Contributed)
Former Canucks goalie King Richard’s art displayed at Kelowna gallery

Richard Brodeur starred in the Vancouver Canucks’ 1982 Stanley Cup run

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A confirmed case of COVID-19 at Vernon’s Silver Star Elementary School has been reported. (Google Maps)
COVID case confirmed at Okanagan elementary school

Member of Silver Star Elementary community in Vernon self-isolating at home; parents alerted Nov. 28

Real Canadian Superstore in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
Kelowna Superstore employee tests positive for COVID-19

The last day the employee worked was Nov. 23

Most Read