474 students and staff at schools within Island Health were infected with #COVID19 between Sept. 8 and Oct. 17, according to data obtained via an FOI.

My latest story for @CHEK_News #bcpoli #bced

https://www.cheknews.ca/new-data-shows-how-fast-covid-19-spread-to-students-staff-at-start-of-school-year-917165/

Why is does this matter? Well, first, Island Health does not publicly release specific data about infections among students or staff.

440/474 of those #COVID19 infections were students.

#bcpoli #bced
https://www.cheknews.ca/new-data-shows-how-fast-covid-19-spread-to-students-staff-at-start-of-school-year-917165/

Secondly, it matters because the province has kept a lot of this information to itself.

B.C. government does release monthly school exposure reports but it isn't broken down by health region.

#bcpoli #bced
https://www.cheknews.ca/new-data-shows-how-fast-covid-19-spread-to-students-staff-at-start-of-school-year-917165/

If you're thinking that provinces across Canada don't disclose that kind of information, so why should BC?

Well, some provinces do in fact disclose active cases within a school.

The image below is from the Toronto District School Board (@TDSB) website.

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BCTF president told me this today in regards to BC's information sharing around school exposures.

“It’s hard to get a picture of what is happening in the schools when there is such secrecy and a lack of transparency around the data"

#bcpoli @CHEK_News
https://www.cheknews.ca/new-data-shows-how-fast-covid-19-spread-to-students-staff-at-start-of-school-year-917165/

Fellow BC journalists can probably relate to this next bit.

- I reached out to Island Health for comment
- Island Health told me only the province can comment on school exposures
- Province told me Island Health should comment

#bcpoli @CHEK_News
https://www.cheknews.ca/new-data-shows-how-fast-covid-19-spread-to-students-staff-at-start-of-school-year-917165/

photo

Also, if the province/IH just released more regionally specific data this might not be so much of an issue.

FOI'd the Island Health infection figures on Oct. 5 and got a reply (thank you IH) on Nov. 22.

#bcpoli #bced
https://www.cheknews.ca/new-data-shows-how-fast-covid-19-spread-to-students-staff-at-start-of-school-year-917165/

Lastly, I am not a parent but if I was, I feel like I'd want to know more about the #COVID19 situation going on in my child's school (especially if they're unvaccinated) than less.

#bcpoli @chek_news
https://www.cheknews.ca/new-data-shows-how-fast-covid-19-spread-to-students-staff-at-start-of-school-year-917165/