Temporarily Shut Down Surrey Schools to Combat the Spread of COVID-19

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The highly transmittable Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a threat to the health and well being of the entire community and Surrey Schools needs to take action to prevent transmission.

As of March 9th, 2020, there have already been 32 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in BC, with numerous other potential and likely patients, some of whom are even being treated at the Surrey Memorial Hospital. Furthermore, Fraser Health has already been forced to issue two separate health warnings as well as "deep-cleanings" in response to coronavirus-infected individuals using SD36 facilities and even attending school.

However, despite the astounding and frankly unacceptable level of exposure and danger in our community, the school board refused to take the appropriate measures in order to keep us safe. 

Schools in particular are a boiling pot for disease and contagion, with students and teachers constantly talking to each other, not to mention even more interactions when parents arrive to pick up their children and teachers drive back to their often faraway homes.

While addressing the community, a letter from Fraser Health claimed that “The person was asymptomatic during their time at the school; therefore, the risk to the school population is minimal,there is no evidence that novel coronavirus is transmitted via asymptomatic individuals and the risk so low for the staff and students at Sullivan Heights”(CTV News). In spite of that, a recent report done by seven Chinese researchers and doctors found a case where a woman showing no symptoms of any disease whatsoever was able to transmit the disease to five other people despite exhibiting zero abnormalities(Jama Network). Given that the reproduction rate of the coronavirus is currently estimated to be at 2.68 transmissions per person(The Lancet)(and presumably much higher in our case considering how much interaction takes place at school) and the fact that it takes five days for people to actually start exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus(BBC), the student from Sullivan Heights very likely infected 2 or 3 fellow students who are now unknowingly spreading the virus as well; if the virus were to continue spreading at this exponential rate without the school board controlling it, we can easily see an outbreak in our community as students from different schools interact regularly during sports matches and extracurricular activities. 

The school district did not solve any of our problems by simply cleaning infected schools, those isolated cases were not the underlying problem but a warning sign of the coronavirus in our community. It's time for Surrey Schools to stop turning off the fire alarm and put out the fire by following the lead already set by numerous colleges in Washington as well as Stanford University. Students can easily spend the time studying for tests or doing homework already assigned by teachers; in fact, many teachers already have emails of students, class websites and schoology classes set up in order to facilitate ample communication with students. If the need really were to arise, the district can even arrange an extra day of school before closure for teachers to give out assignments that they would've given out in the upcoming weeks.

With the coronavirus posing a huge threat to the safety and health of our children, it's up to our school district to rise to the occasion, make the right decision and protect our communities from infection!

SOURCES:

CTV News: https://bc.ctvnews.ca/parents-alerted-that-covid-19-patients-attended-2-surrey-schools-1.4844735

Jama Network: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762028?guestAccessKey=9e4e116a-7ab4-4a98-97b7-9b0bbedb5c6f&utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=022120

The Lancet: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30260-9/fulltext

BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51800707