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

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
Two Kelowna flights flagged for COVID-19 onboard

The flights were on Jan. 14 and 18

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Most Read