Nanaimo District Secondary School. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo District Secondary School. (News Bulletin file photo)

Fire drill didn’t spread COVID-19, says Island school district

Cases reported at Nanaimo District Secondary, but no transmission of virus there

COVID-19 cases are rising in Nanaimo and that includes in schools, but a fire drill at NDSS last week wasn’t any kind of super-spreader event, says SD68.

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools reported new COVID-19 cases at NDSS four separate times over the last two weeks, as the secondary is one of seven schools in the district currently on Island Health’s school exposures list.

There was a fire drill at Nanaimo District Secondary School on Feb. 4, but as of a week later, there has been nothing to suggest the drill led to COVID-19 transmission, said SD68 spokesman Dale Burgos.

He noted that while COVID clusters have been reported at three Nanaimo schools, NDSS isn’t one of them, meaning that public health’s contact tracing hasn’t identified spread of the virus happening at that school.

While Burgos acknowledged community concern about the fire drill spreading COVID-19, he said he hasn’t heard school administrators express concern about continuing with fire drills during the pandemic. B.C.’s Fire Services Act mandates six fire drills per school year, and last week’s drill at NDSS was the fourth of 2020-21.

Burgos said the school followed protocols.

“Schools received direction from our safety and wellness team before [holding drills] and it was stressed that they have to make sure it’s done in a safe manner, following the restrictions, staying in your learning groups,” Burgos said.

He added that he thinks fire drills are very important and should continue to happen.

story continues below

Nanaimo District Secondary School’s COVID-19 exposure dates were Jan. 27-28, Feb. 1-3 and Feb. 5. Schools with clusters, meaning that transmission happened there, include Rock City and Bayview elementaries and Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School. Other SD68 schools that have had cases the past two weeks include John Barsby and Ladysmith secondaries and Brechin Elementary.

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo-Ladysmith superintendent, said in a video message last week that schools mirror communities, and while exposures continue to happen, “we’re still seeing lower transmission rates inside our schools.” He said safety of students and staff remains the district’s top priority, and added that cleaning of high-touch points and disinfecting will continue to happen in every building in the district as long as is required.

READ ALSO: Stay informed about COVID-19



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

Cowichan Valley Regional District.
Business incubation and acceleration program to strengthen Cowichan food ecosystem

Support for the development of thriving food and beverage sector

Mount Brenton Golf Course unveils its board of directors for 2021-22. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Fritsch elected president of Mount Brenton Golf Course board of directors

Annual general meeting conducted by Zoom for the first time

Municipality of North Cowichan.
North Cowichan receives community resiliency fire smart funding

More effective wildfire protection regulations will be implemented

Municipality of North Cowichan.
North Cowichan thinking collaboratively on provincial funding

Contract for outfall relocation awarded pending City of Duncan approval

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Ottawa. Doctors in Alberta have signed an open letter asking for prioritized vaccination of health-care staff who work directly with patients on dedicated COVID-19 units. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID vaccines for seniors in B.C.: Here’s how to sign up

Seniors 90+, Indigenous seniors 65+ and Indigenous Elders can book starting March 8

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Most Read