COVID-19 cases in Virden Schools

Virden Collegiate has three cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, April 14. It began with one Gr. 11 student who tested positive with a variant of concern.

Public Health notified Fort La Bosse of the positive case last weekend and mandated Gr. 11 and 12 classes be removed from in-school classes to remote learning only until April 22.

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Since then, Superintendent Barry Pitz said that as of Wednesday, there are two more students testing positive, bringing the total to three cases within VCI.

“The two kids that were in school were not contagious while they were in the building,” Pitz said. “They did not have the virus while in the school.” Public health provided that information to the superintendent.

“We are taking additional measures to sanitize our schools and increase our cleaning. The school division in consultation with VCI moved Gr. 9 and 10 … to remote learning for the same period as a precaution.”

As of Wednesday, one teacher at Virden Junior High has tested positive. The teacher informed the school and the division office of their positive test. That teacher is also quarantined for two weeks, along with contacts, but Pitz has not yet heard from Public Health about this case.

“The proactive measures we take - we notify the families of the students (of that teacher) that there’s a positive case. Beyond that we follow the direction of public health.”

While there may need for extra vigilance, school staff – teachers and all support staff – are considered essential workers and are expected to continue working at school as long as they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19.

An additional VJH staff member (not a teacher) who was on leave has also tested positive for the virus. However, there’s no impact on the school as they had been away for over a month prior to the positive test.

VCI has 304 students enrolled, however, prior to the COVID cases there, senior high classes were rotated with half the class attending alternate days to enable COVID protocol including distancing.

The variant of concern involved with at least one school case spurred the division to the extra caution, removing all VCI students to remote learning for the quarantine period.

But Pitz says, “We’ve been down this road before in Reston and at Boundary Lane. If everyone follows protocols, if everyone adheres to public health advice, we will see our way through it.”

Several weeks ago, Elkhorn parents had requested the division to move their senior students back into school full-time. Elkhorn’s senior high students had been on a rotating remote/in-school learning protocol, but parents were concerned this was demotivating. Students needed to be back in school.

“They are back in school with appropriate physical distancing measures…” says Pitz. “So, a lot of reconfiguring in that school and adjustments being made. So far the news has been positive.”

Dr. Roussin stated in his public report on Monday that transmission usually occurs within families or within communities, rather than within schools.

NEARBY SCHOOLS

Melita School also had one COVID-19 case in the two weeks prior to April 13

Boissevain School has an outbreak with 13 COVID-19 cases associated with the school in the two weeks prior to April 13.

Neither of these schools listed variant of concern cases.

The dashboard with school information is tricky to find, but there is a map that leads to the information: https://manitoba.ca/covid19/schools/index.html#dashboard

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