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Cowichan SD79: another COVID back-to-school season

For COVID safety: vaccination, masking & ventilation.

Wednesday August 25, 2021 | COWICHAN VALLEY, BC

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends


Dealing with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic is the subject of a letter from the Cowichan Valley school District (SD79) school board to their community of students, parents, teachers, staff and broader community.

“This year, like the last two, will see us having to deal with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, and like years past, we will be working hard to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our schools and workplaces,” it was stated today by SD79 Board Chair Candace Spilsbury.

“The Board of Eduation for the Cowichan Valley School District is excited to be welcoming students and staff back to the 2021/2022 school year on September 7,” noting that this is after the summer break. BC has been in Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan since July 1, which means there’s been a lot of socializing and circulation of the COVID-19 virus.

virus, covid
The SARS-CoV-2 virus (aka COVID) will naturally continue to mutate.

Delta variant:

The Delta variant of the virus achieved dominance in the pandemic test-positive results by the last week of July, if not earlier (based on BC Centre for Disease Control data).

The Delta variant is now considered by public health to be highly transmissible and cause more serious illness than the original SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) strain. There have been other SARS-CoV-2 variants (B117/alpha/UK, B1351/beta/South Africa, and P.1/gamma/Brazil) which have been almost entirely replaced in the BC profile of test-positive COVID infections, since the end of July 2021.

Getting vaccinated:

The current vaccines that are approved by Health Canada are considered effective against the Delta variant. So far, the mRNA-type vaccines in particular (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) are also apparently safe; the viral-vector type (AstraZeneca) has proven to have some blood-clotting risk and is not being used quite so much in BC now.

“We know that the best way to ensure everyone’s health and safety, and to protect ourselves and those we care about, is to get vaccinated,” it was stated in the SD79 release today.

alistair macgregor, campaign 2021
Election Day is September 20, 2021.

Wearing masks:

In addition to vaccinations, the provincial government has issued new school health and safety guidelines that mandate the wearing of masks for all Grade 4 to 12 students and all staff while indoors. Children in K-3 will be encouraged to wear masks.

Cleaning & ventilation:

SD79 says it will continue with enhanced cleaning measures throughout the district. They say the SD79 board “has made investments in upgraded ventilation”, which says should provide confidence as to being in the schools.

There are 17 elementary schools and five secondary schools in the Cowichan District.