B.C. school closed due to COVID-19 outbreak, 2 more shuttered by staffing shortfalls

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SURREY, B.C. — A Surrey, B.C., elementary school has been ordered to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak, while staffing shortages stemming from virus case clusters have forced closures at two other schools in nearby municipalities.

The Fraser Health authority said seven COVID-19 cases have been identified at Cambridge Elementary School, and the facility will close until Nov. 30 to help break the chain of transmission.

The health authority said two other schools, Jarvis Elementary School in Delta and Al-Hidayah School in New Westminster, will close to manage a cluster of COVID-19 cases.

It said those closures are related to staffing issues presented by the cluster of cases and both will be closed for two weeks.

Jordan Tinney, the superintendent of Surrey schools, said staff understand the concern parents may have and that the safety of the community is of "utmost importance."

"We are sorry to have to take these steps which we know impact you and your family deeply," Tinney wrote in a letter to parents.

The Fraser Health region has emerged as a provincial COVID-19 hotspot, with the majority of new cases being identified in the region over the past week.

Among those battling the virus is Darlene Lourenco, a music teacher at Cambridge Elementary.

An update on a GoFundMe launched in support of her family said she was moved to intensive care as of Friday.

The health authority announced five other COVID-19 notifications at Surrey schools on Friday.

The notifications range in date from Oct. 30 to Nov. 10.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press